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From the archives: Challenging health disparities

March, Karen, RN

doi: 10.1097/01.NUMA.0000532339.52067.c2
Department: Letters

The article “Leadership Competencies to Reduce Health Disparities” by Yvonne Wesley, PhD, RN, FAAN (February 2015) highlighted the role of nurse leaders in reducing the health disparities of minorities. As an RN working in the quality improvement department of an ethnically and racially diverse hospital, I understand the importance of this issue.

As I continue to pursue an advanced degree in nursing, I realize the significant role minority nurses play in addressing disparities in healthcare. We have a duty to advocate for healthcare reform that's proportionate for a diverse population of patients with increasingly complex healthcare needs.

Throughout their educational experiences and while serving as clinical nurses, all nurses should be educated regarding their roles and responsibilities as leaders and advocates in the arena of legislative reform. Obtaining this knowledge earlier in the learning process will empower nurses to effectively serve as policy makers and advocates.

As managers of healthcare organizations, it's our responsibility to lead by example. We must identify the factors that create disparities; advocate for legislative, administrative, and grass roots level changes; and ensure that the information is disseminated to nursing staff. Many nurses are unaware of their power to evoke changes in legislation and instructional policies that will improve the quality of care being offered to underserved patient populations.

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—Karen March, RN

Elmont, N.Y.

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Leadership competencies to reduce health disparities https://journals.lww.com/nursingmanagement/Fulltext/2015/02000/Leadership_competencies_to_reduce_health.11.aspx

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