ANA\California Member and media-trained nurse, Dr. Trarina Harris DNP, RN, NE-BC, CPHQ, PHN, advocates for increased diversity in leadership roles through formal mentorship programs designed to remove unconscious bias and align teams with the patient population they serve.
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Jared Fesler 0:17
Welcome to the Amplified RN News Show where we're turning up the volume on nursing news in California. Today, we're going to be diving in the topic of mentorship, and how we can use mentorship to drive diversity in nursing executive leadership. We're joined today by an ANA California member and media-trained nurse, and so thankful to have you here joining us. Dr. Trarina Harris, would you please introduce yourself and just tell everyone a little bit why you're an expert on this topic?
Dr. Trarina Jerome Harris 0:43
Sure. Good afternoon, Jared. Thanks for having me. I am Dr. Trarina Jerome Harris as introduced. I am a doctorally prepared nurse with a certification in nurse executive leadership, as well as in quality. I have been a nurse for over 23 years and in leadership for almost 17 years. And so I consider myself to be an expert in this topic based on my DNP project, and my experience throughout the continuum of care.
Jared Fesler 1:17
Thank you so much. So can you tell us a little bit more about the scope of this issue? How many nurses are currently represent racial and ethnic minorities in California?
Dr. Trarina Jerome Harris 1:28
Sure. So I do have to share that this is actually not a new topic, there was a call to action over 20 years ago by the Institute of Medicine, now called the National Academy of Medicine. And in that we they call to action, the need to increase diversity in nursing. So to date, our data is showing that 68% of nurses identify as Caucasian. And only 14% of those nurses in executive leadership roles represent African Americans, like Tito's or in Latinos, and even Asian nurses.
Jared Fesler 2:11
And why do you think this issue persists or continues to perpetuate?
Dr. Trarina Jerome Harris 2:16
The reason that it continues to persist or perpetuate is because there are a number of reasons there's cultural bias. So in the sense that people in positions of power only want to hire people that look like them. There is a lack of mentorship that exists for individuals in that identify as historically marginalized individuals. And quite frankly, opportunities for promotions don't really exist for people of color.
Jared Fesler 2:50
So through your doctoral work, as well as through your fellowship through the American Nurses Association, what are you suggesting that health systems and institutions can do to start addressing this problem?
Dr. Trarina Jerome Harris 3:04
One of the things that could happen to improve and increase the diversity and nurse executive leadership would be the creation of mentorship programs, making sure that in all healthcare facilities, we align our our leadership structures with the patients that we serve the patient population. For example, in one area where I worked 68% of the patient population identified as Latina, however, nurse executive leadership did not resemble that patient population. So by creating understanding your data, working closely with your HR leadership team to look at your data starting out, and then from there developing programs, with the engagement of key stakeholders like your C suite, to develop something that I like to call a pipeline to to increase that diversity. So basically, you would create a mentorship program with, say, a frontline manager would be partnered with someone with an executive leadership title, supervisor would be partnered with someone that is a manager, and you would create this mentorship program where you would work on on projects to increase their their confidence in leadership. And when there are vacancies. So basically, you're preparing them, you're creating a succession plan, right? So when a position opens up, HR has this data that people who have completed this mentorship program, they would be the first people that you would go to, to interview and to even consider for openings in these various leadership roles.
Jared Fesler 4:49
Thank you so much for the explanation. It seems like there are a few steps in there to get organizations started. Are you aware of any institutions that currently implement programs like these a mentorship program like this?
Dr. Trarina Jerome Harris 5:02
That's a great question. I am not aware of any organization that currently has such a program. I do know that there are mentorship programs it but it's all-inclusive and it doesn't necessarily result in creating a pipeline to draw from these individuals. There's just basically more like a training program to increase your presence and your knowledge of leadership but it doesn't necessarily result in an interview or promise of promoting.
Jared Fesler 5:37
Well, thank you so much Dr. Trarina Harris, and for everyone tuning in to episode six of the Amplified RN News Show. It's such an important topic being discussed today. As any California continues its fight on its racism and nursing campaign. This is something we're going to be looking forward to in our set of solutions. So thank you so much, Dr. Trarina Harris for joining us, and have a great rest of the day. Thank you.
Dr. Trarina Jerome Harris 6:00
Thank you for having me, Jared.