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Realizing the Power: Minoritized Nurses' Role at the Leadership Table | E12 -Amplified RN News Show

Advocate for greater representation of minoritized nurses in leadership roles with 2023 ANA\California Advocacy Institute Fellow and media-trained nurse, Dr. Fatima Arastu, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, CNEn®, Caritas Coach®.


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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. I'm your host, Jared Fesler. And today we're going to be diving into the topic of the role of minoritized nurses in leadership positions. We're joined by California's 2023 Advocacy Institute fellow and media-trained nurse, Dr. Fatima Arastu. Dr. Arastu, thank you so much for joining us today. Would you tell us a little bit about why you're an expert on this topic?

Dr. Fatima Arastu 0:43

Hi, Jarred, thank you so much for having me at your show. My name is Fatima and I'm a doctorally prepared nurse. I've been in healthcare for last 21 years, and I've been in leadership for last 10 years and as an underrepresented nurse. This is really core issue to me and hits home. I also want to highlight with my background, I'm an expert, as a Fellow for Advocacy Institute for last year and have been really working closely on racism and nursing. And that has been really part of my work, ongoing work and helping nurses who are underrepresented to have a seat at the table. And the problem that I wanted really share is how healthcare organizations are not doing enough to really have minoritized leaders at the table. And this show, we will be discussing some of the things that we really need to focus on and redirect the nurse leaders as we move forward.

Jared Fesler 1:57

So how many... what is the current representation of minoritized, nurses and leadership positions?

Dr. Fatima Arastu 2:06

Currently, a recent survey from the US hospital that was done, that showed about 14% of the board members represented minoritized groups, and out of those only 11% were in executive leadership. So that speaks volume, right and where we are with me and what all we're gonna need to do and really want to do a call out to my minority nurse leaders are around there and who are doing the work to really support the underrepresented nurse leaders and nurses or coming to you through mentorship or to guidance as they go along with their own journey.

Jared Fesler 2:55

So what are the some of the underlying systemic issues? What is creating this low percentage of minoritized, nurses in leadership positions?

Dr. Fatima Arastu 3:08

One of the things that come to mind and as the research shows, you know, hospital leadership, and the governors need to really look at their assessment, you know, really look at the problem and understand what pathways and what programs they have and succession planning around it. And there's not much enough there's little recognition of those nurses and it also trickles down to the academia level. But really focusing on just at the, at the healthcare organization level, I think really, healthcare executives need to look at what their board members look like, what's the what's the leadership? What's the leadership?...

Jared Fesler 3:53

Composition? Right?

Dr. Fatima Arastu 3:55

Yeah. And so thank you, Jared, what I was seeing the population that you serve, you know, when you do the community assessment, you really is your nursing leadership reflective of that so that you can improve patient outcomes. And I think that is really trickles down to frontline. So you need to have a good composition of that.

Jared Fesler 4:16

Now, Dr. Arastu, you're a doctorally prepared nurse and a member of the minoritized nurses in a leadership position. What has been your story to get into a leadership position and what barriers or problems have you encountered along the way?

Dr. Fatima Arastu 4:33

Yeah, thank you for asking that question. That is really, you know, as a as a queer, minority, immigrant, Indian nurse, I think it has been a lot of struggles to kind of get to where I am and a personal story like I was the first one back in those days who really didn't resemble other people. People who are around you have the same background. And you know, it comes with barriers in terms of your ethnic culture, values that you bring on the table, and you didn't have enough mentors who you can look up to. So my personal story is when I, you know, see nurses who are from underrepresented backgrounds, I try to support their journey because they need that extra push when they have their own barriers. I was told, you know, and one of my journey along the path, like, you know, I don't think so you are good enough, you know, only because I didn't have that mentorship or guidance. But I've worked through those barriers as I came along in my leadership journey, but that's something that immerses me.

Jared Fesler 5:46

So if you mentorship is one of those great solutions that could be offered or to to aspiring leaders, what are those first steps you're asking health organizations, and these minoritized nurses to do in order to increase that low percentage of minoritized, nurse leaders?

Dr. Fatima Arastu 6:08

And then the first step is for the organization to really engage with their team to see what does the assessment and doing an assessment of their current leadership? What does that look like? Is it inclusive? Or is it exclusive? What does the profile look that look at look at how it impacts your patient outcomes, looking at your community needs assessment and seeing the patient population that you're serving? That is the the critical aspect from the leadership standpoint. In addition, really dedicating the time to ensure that you are visible as leader in supporting organization, in inclusion, diversity has equity events, and how do how do you show up and then creating pathways and succession planning around it? Because I think that is very crucial, you know, people come underrepresented nurses come with different background, they have less resources around them. And you know, they have to work twice, in terms of getting where they need to be because there are a lot of barriers that come up. So that's something you need to look at. In terms of minority nurses, I really want nurses who are looking at their career pathway, a lot of them don't know the direction they're going in terms of you know, the potential they have tapping into that potential is really the role of the leader in the organization.

Jared Fesler 7:38

So it sounds like the size of the applicant pool and going into these leadership positions, maybe a squeezing in a way or another within the institution. What are ways that the that applicant pool or the number of nurses looking to enter these leadership positions can be increased? Are there... Are you looking at partnerships with other organizations? What do you think?

Dr. Fatima Arastu 8:02

I think that is important. And it is truly important that the associations are partnering up with, you know, American Nurses Association. A good example is, you know, Nana, which is National American Indian Nurses Association, or Filipino Nurses Association, our Hispanic Nurses Association, really working collaboratively with the American Nurses Association and bringing those programs to their members. I think that will be really valuable to help bridge the gap and also really help underrepresented nurses to get their skills ready to get into a leadership role. And I do want to share a story down the lane, you know, an organization that I was working for, I had nurses who came up to see and they saw me as a nurse leader of a different ethnic background. And they were really surprising. They were enamored by me being able to be there. And the response was like, when we had sisters found a disposition open, they're like, I didn't know I could do this. But I kind of went up to them to say, Hey, do you I see the potential in you? Would you like to apply? And the response that I got was, I don't think so I will fit in or I would not get hired. So really giving them the tools and working with minority Nurses Association to leverage these programs that you know, ANA\California has such amazing programs right now. And overall, as an organization that can help. I have learnt a lot to fellowship program that we did through advocacy, the Advocacy Institute, I will do a contact for partnership for the for the nurses and the leaders to collaborate on.

Jared Fesler 9:54

Dr. Arastu. Thank you so much for your time today and joining us on the Amplified RN News Show. It is so important to have a more diverse nursing leadership so we can have the impact on patient outcomes and improve that health equity in our communities here in California. So, thank you so much for joining us show for those that are tuning in. Thank you so much, and we'll see you in the next episode.

Dr. Fatima Arastu 10:17

Thank you so much for having me.


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