Black Health Matters Celebrates Nurses Week 2020

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The week of May 6-12 is National Nurses Week, a time dedicated to recognizing, appreciating, and thanking the selfless and hardworking nurses all across the country. Our team at Black Health Matters would like to give a special thank you to all the nurses—past, present and future—who serve our communities and dedicate their lives to helping others.
 
Black Health Matters will celebrate Nurses Week 2020 by featuring an exceptional black nurse each day, ending on May 12 with a special Facebook Live event featuring Dr. Jonanna R. Bryant, DNP, MS, RN, president of the Philadelphia Chapter of Black Nurses Rock.

 


Andrea L. Murrell, MFT, BSN, RN, President of Southern Connecticut Black Nurses Association

What is your background in nursing?

“Nursing is my second career. Previously, I was a family therapist working with individuals and family battling mental health issues and substance abuse. It was very challenging and rewarding work. During this time, I worked closely with nurses and saw the impact they had on people lives. I was in awe of their ability to heal in a way I hadn’t experienced as a therapist. I wanted to have that same kind of connection, I wanted to provide that kind of care. I earned a Bachelor’s of Nursing from Fairfield University and started my career as a solid organ transplant nurse. It was a true gift to see people be given the ultimate gift an organ—a new opportunity for life. I am now the nurse manager of a cardiac med-surg/stepdown floor. While I am removed from the beside, I look at my position as my privilege to care for those who are caring for our patients. ”

What is a quote that you live by?

“Let all you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14

How can the community better appreciate nurses?

“BY LIVING WELL! The best way to appreciate a nurse or a healthcare provider is to receive the care or education given and apply it to your life. We want our community to experience wellness and health. It is our responsibility as healthcare professionals to provide that access. The gratitude and expressions of thanks are encouraging and its always nice to be appreciated, but it’s more important to be a part of lasting change that positively impacts someone’s health and well being.”

 


Gyneth Givens, RN, President of Proficient Health & Life Solutions, LLC

What is your background in nursing?

“I have 25 years of experience in pediatric nursing, committed to managing the healthcare of individuals with special needs. I provide Georgia Now and Comp Wavier services to the medically fragile and severe profound population. My compassionate nursing services support individuals in the intellectual and developmental disability community, and help providers to ensure services are in compliance and quality improvement.”

What is a quote you live by?

“I AM ME” is a quote I live by. As individuals, we are born with differences that are unique to us. We should embrace the concept that being yourself is what makes you special.

How can the community better appreciate nurses?

The community can better appreciate the nurses’ impact by acknowledging the many aspects of a nurse’s role. One important role of the nurse is to protect the health, safety and wellness of the community.  Consequently, the nurse is frequently on the frontline during public health crises. We need acknowledgment that “Nurse’s Health Matters” and we need care too. We make many sacrifices for our communities and nurses need the community to advocate and care about us to ensure our safety.

 


Calvin Walker, RN

What is your background in nursing?

I have dedicated 15 years in nursing. Originally, I started out as a LPN, and now I a registered nurse. Currently, I am working for my Bachelors in Nursing.

What is a quote you live by?

“Never judge a book by its cover.”

How can the community better appreciate nurses?

Appreciating the everyday sacrifices we make by serving our community. We love what we do. There is no greater profession in my eyes. NURSES ROCK. We are the community and the community is us.

 


Karyssa Coston, MSN, AGACNP-BC, FNP-C

What is your background in nursing?

I work with trauma, post-surgical and orthopedic patient population.

What is a quote you live by?

“Great things never came from comfort zones.”

How can the community better appreciate nurses?

Nursing is usually a thankless job. The community can better appreciate nurses by simply thanking us every now and then.

 


Sojourner Truth

Background:

Sojourner Truth, a compassionate abolitionist and women’s’ right activist, served as a nurse to the Dumont family. Truth later became a member of the National Freedman’s Relief Association, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of African Americans. Truth often spoke before Congress, promoting nursing education and training programs.

Quote: 

“Truth is powerful and it prevails.”

 


Mary Eliza Mahoney, RN

Background:

Mahoney was the first black registered nurse. In 1879, she graduated from a program in New England. In 1908, she helped to establish the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses.

 

 

 


Mar’i Brown, BS

Why are you pursuing nursing?  

Growing up and witnessing my family’s health deteriorate, without receiving access to proper care is something that never sat right with me. Additionally, only 9.9 percent of nurses in the United States are African American. We are extremely underrepresented and it is extremely important that we have black and brown health professionals within a clinical setting.

How has COVID-19 impacted your view of the importance of nursing?

The virus has made me realize how committed I must be to this field. There will be times when the community, the patient, the family, will rely on me to give the best quality of care to their loved one. I can’t quit, even given the daunting circumstances. Although challenging, I will remain steadfast, because there will be times where I have to put the needs of others over my own.

What do you plan to do in this field?

My goal is to become a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner. With this field, my plan is to decrease the health disparity associated with marginalized communities and mental health. Black and brown people are disproportionately affected by mental health diseases. Through access to different therapies, medications, and research, the objective is decreasing these inequities.

 


Makalia Weeks, Senior, Montclair State University, BS in Biology

What do you plan to do in this field?

My ultimate goal is to become a women’s health nurse practitioner and certified nurse midwife (WHNP/CNM).

Why are you pursuing nursing?

There is a remarkable feeling associated with helping others which is difficult to put into words. I have always believed that a career in the medical field is the best platform to help another human being. A person’s health in undeniably the most valuable factor in their lives, in fact it is life itself. Good health is vital in order to fully enjoy all aspects of one’s life and sharing life with loved ones. Our health dictates the quality of our lives and excellent healthcare is largely dependent on the professionals who provide it.

In an unfortunate period of suffering through poor health, a patient is at their most vulnerable, physically and psychologically. I believe that nurses play a crucial role in being part of the patient’s support system. In unfamiliar, clinical surroundings, patients need to feel reassured and cared for. They need to be nursed back to health, in the most literal sense. In my opinion, being a nurse is one of the most noble and satisfying professions that an individual can choose. This is the reason that I have decided to do just that!

How has COVID-19 impacted your view on the importance of nursing?

These are extremely trying times. It’s concerning to watch this unfold, given that we have never experienced anything like this in our lifetime. As I see those on the frontlines gearing up in heavy duty personal protective equipment, the magnitude of this pandemic hits me even harder. Health care is one of the most extreme settings that an individual can work in. I have a deep understanding of the intensity and realize how valiant health care professionals are.

Nurses respond at a moment’s notice putting fear aside to help when they’re needed most, which is extremely selfless. As the pandemic progresses, I am reminded constantly of the vital role that nurses play.  These are the men and women who are with COVID-19 patients during admittance, treatment, and until recovery. It requires an unbelievable amount of endurance to care for such a high number of gravely ill patients. I am truly thankful for the crucial role nurses play in our society and as a result I am more inspired to make my contribution in the future.





 

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