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As the nation commemorates the work and dedication of nurses throughout the country May 6-12, it is particularly important to acknowledge the contributions and need for more Black nurses. Particularly as nursing is a field that has shown lowering rates since the throws of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is integral to champion the work and need for Black nurses in order to improve diversity in nursing and the medical field overall.

Minority Nurse reported 9.9% of Registered Nurses (RNs) are Black. Statistics further reveal that there are about 279,600 Black RNs and 162,800 licensed practical nurses (LPNs).

According to the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) African Americans are less likely to receive the standards of care their white counterparts experience and thus its imperative for Black nurses and medical professions.

Black nurses have the ability to provide culturally sensitive and informed care, as well as provide representation to inspire and increase Black medical professional rates.

With a bit less than 10% of Black people accounting for the nurse’s pool, organizations such as the National Black Nurses Network Association (NBNA), are encouraging Black nurses.

“This year especially, I salute you for your: selfless giving, working that extra shift, and for encouraging that colleague that needed uplifting. Thank you for being so resilient during this time of ‘wokeness and awakening’ – internal and external to our profession,” said NBNA president Dr. Martha A. Dawson.

The NBNA president encouraged Black nurses to consider why they wanted to enter their field in the first place.

“I encourage you to continue to reflect on why you entered this profession and remember all the good you do every day to enhance the lives of others. We should never forget that human kindness is the core of our work,” she said before emphasizing the need for strong bedside manners. “It does not matter how much book learning you have or what your scientific endeavors discover, if a patient or client cannot feel love when you speak to or touch them, all our learning and knowledge is wasted time. So, thank you for being the best version of yourself that uplifts the human spirit. “

It is key to celebrate Black nurses this Nurses Appreciation Week and always in order to promote more Black students to seek nursing careers. It is vital to improve diversity disparities found among nurses and healthcare professionals.

HED: Celebrating Black Male Teachers in DCPS, Emphasizing a Need for More
While nationwide there’s been a continued disparity in male teachers and D.C. statistics no different, reporting 75.3 % of women educators in District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and 24.7% men, the District can boast a promising statistic about male educators of color this Teachers Appreciation Week.

In the 2018-2019 school year, 14.1% of DCPS teachers identified as Black or brown, going beyond the national average of 4% for the same overall groups. However, with more than 50% percent more women educators in DCPS, the nation’s capital’s public school system still has work to do in male representation.

According to the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), having even two Black teachers by third grade increases Black students’ prospect of attending college by more than 30%. Further, educators of color have proven to have a positive impact on Black students’ school attendance, academic achievement, high school graduation rates and enrollment in advanced courses.

With such statistics, imagine the impact Black male teachers can have on improving African American students’ success.

Marian University Wisconsin reported that men in the classroom allow students to witness non-violent male figures, who interact positively with women.

Having men in the classroom is particularly important as it offers students an opportunity “to observe men who are non-violent and whose interactions with women are positive,” while also normalizing gender (and gender-non-conforming) equitable positions, providing the opportunities for male role models, diversifying the workforce, and promoting overall equity.
In February, the Washington Informer reported Black men represent less than 2% of the teacher workforce.
“Black men currently account for less than 2% of the U.S. public school teacher workforce, according to the National Center for Education Statistics’ National Teacher and Principal Survey and Dr. Travis J. Bristol of the University of California, Berkeley. This trend has been attributed to the lack of mentorship or misalignment in certain educational environments,” reported Sam P.K. Collins, WI staff writer.
With such nationwide statistics, it is key to improve Black men educator rates overall, while also celebrating the higher numbers of male teachers in the nation’s capital’s public schools.
“I try to bring something relevant to their lives every month,” DCPS teacher Langston Tingling-Clemmons told the Informer in February. “I create a classroom that questions how racism plays a part in U.S. history.

More Black men entering the public education field is necessary, not only for positive African American male representation, but to clarify truths and improve overall success rates for Black students.

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