February 18, 2005

VUSN seeks to add Black Nurses Association chapter

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VUSN seeks to add Black Nurses Association chapter

The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing is in the process of applying for a local chapter of the National Black Nurses Association, and several nursing students and faculty are currently working to revitalize the Black Student Nurses Association.

Rolanda Johnson, Ph.D., R.N., assistant professor of Nursing, is involved in the work to establish both organizations at Vanderbilt. She said 15 students or registered nurses are needed to establish a local chapter of the National Black Nurses Association. “We want to bring together African-American nurses so we can have a collective impact on health disparities within ethnic minority populations, not only to serve as just another organization, but to pool our resources and the wealth of knowledge African-American nurses have,” said Johnson. “And we'll hopefully effect change in the community that will improve health outcomes.”

Johnson said if approved, the local chapter of the National Black Nurses Association would also work closely with African-American students. “We want to bridge the gap between African-American students and RNs to have a greater mentoring role for African-American students.”

The Black Student Nurses Association at VUSN is reforming and gearing back up with the help of Johnson and a co-faculty advisor, Shawanda Clay, R.N., who has a master of science in Nursing and is a lecturer in Nursing. Clay said it is important to African-American students to have a place to come together and network.

“Because there is a smaller percentage of black students who attend the School of Nursing, we want to help them form this support system for one another,” said Clay.

For more information about the Black Student Nurses Association contact shawanda.clay@vanderbilt.edu.

The first meeting for nurses who are interested in joining the National Black Nurses Association will be held on at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 22 in Frist Hall, room 250, in the School of Nursing. For more information contact Rolanda Johnson at 343-7879.