Though, the most significant changes will happen from the inside out.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife! This year-long international celebration focuses on honoring nursing’s critical contributions to improve global health; acknowledging, appreciating and addressing the challenging conditions nurses face; and advocating for increased investments in the nursing workforce.
We agree, but let’s take it one bold step further. We firmly believe that nursing is the critical element to improving the quality of care for all patients. Nurses spend more time interacting with patients than any other healthcare professional. They make a difference in the health of their patients each day. As nurses become empowered and take leadership in the process, quality of care and patient outcomes will improve. Without nursing leadership and a commitment to change, nothing will happen. The local culture will always trump any new “project” or international “good idea.” It is Nurses that will lead change from the inside out.
So, what does that mean for us? It means we have to be relentless in pursuing how nurses can take up the leadership challenge and make an impact in their community. As Dean Hilda Alcindor from FSIL in Haiti says – “Be the Change.”
Our goal is to provide you with updates on initiatives that are changing clinical quality – we all need to understand evidence-based best practices and determine how we can pursue those at our hospitals, clinics and schools. We need to learn the best from each other so that – we can be the change.
Throughout the year, we will also share stories of exceptional leadership with you. How determined individuals have tackled the challenge and are making considerable progress. We have to inspire and challenge each other so that – we can be the change.
Today, we have the story of one young woman in a very resource-limited situation who was not intimidated, took the talent that God has given her and is intent on making a change. Danta Bien-Aimé, and her inspiring progression from Gonaïves, Haiti to a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard Medical School.
As a nursing student at Faculté des Sciences Infirmières de l’Université Épiscopale d’Haïti (FSIL), she was involved in many activities. She tutored and mentored freshmen, and took other roles like class president, resident assistant, editorial manager of the school journal. Upon graduation in 2014, she earned the highest score out of 2,500 nurses on the national board exam in Haiti. She knew she wanted to further her education. When she learned about the Fulbright Scholarship, she knew it was an opportunity she could leverage to help her reach her goals.
With guidance and support from family, friends and co-workers, she overcame some difficult challenges pursued her passion. Awarded the Fulbright Scholarship and the International Peace Scholarship (IPS) through the Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO), She is currently pursuing a Master of Medical Sciences Degree in Global Health Delivery at Harvard Medical School and serving on campus as a qualitative research assistant. Part of her decision was driven by a desire to contribute more. While working in the clinical area, besides delivering proper care, she was advocating for her patients, especially those who could not afford medical care. She often found herself educating them about healthy behaviors and some traditional practices. She also made time to mentor some of the nursing students during their clinical rotation.
Danta’s story shows us that leadership is a journey and your development as a leader in health care will be built through your day to day experience. No matter where you are in your career, you should not only be celebrating your existing leadership skills but also identifying areas you can improve. As Danta said at a recent medical missions conference, “You are the one who is supposed to change your reality. If you don’t, no one is going to do it for you.” She recognized the importance of acquiring skills in implementation, community programming, institutional partnerships and system management so she can apply those skills in a model that targets health equity and structural changes in her community — ultimately transforming patient care in Haiti.
You can take part in the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife by sharing your story. Tell us about a colleague who is using their skills and influence to lead the transformation of patient care in your community. E-mail the details to us by April 17, at [email protected] or text us via WhatsApp at +1 832 589 0097.
As nursing professionals, it is your year to celebrate your progress as well as elevate and advocate for your future impact. Let’s stand united, make our voices heard and lead.
Have additional questions or comments? Email us at [email protected]. or text us via WhatsApp at +1 832 589 0097. And, be sure to forward this on to your colleagues who aren’t currently connected to the Center for Global Nursing Development.
MBF/Center for Global Nursing Development