The demand for African-American RNs, and well as other minority nurses, is at an all-time high and is set to keep rising for the next few years. According to the most recent National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), over one million RNs will be needed to support the need for healthcare in the US by 2020. There is a growing need for RNs from different backgrounds and specialties to connect with the growing minority populations. African Americans, for instance, tend to have less access to healthcare and disproportionate rates of illness compared to the majority whites.
Opportunities for Black Nurses
Nursing has traditionally been a more diverse field than most professional careers, but today nursing schools are looking even more to attract students who are sensitive to cultural differences, which is a key component of effective community outreach efforts. The number of black nurses is still low in nursing graduate programs and the nursing workforce, and if you are a black nurse or a black nursing student looking to advance your education by earning a BSN or an MSN, there are plenty of opportunities for you. Black nurses can still go back to school, advance their careers, and be in a better position to help the nursing profession recruit and retain more African American nurses.
There are many nursing schools in the United States. Research shows that African American students fail to pursue or drop out of nursing programs for a number of reasons. These include misconception about nursing careers, lack of direction from authority figures, economic barriers, role stereotypes, and more. As a black nursing student, it’s very important to ensure that you choose the right nursing school that understands these problems if you want to have a successful nursing career. Here are key factors black nurses and nursing students should consider when choosing a nursing school:
Black Nurses and Social Mobility
Shifting from one social status to another is known as social mobility. It’s the change in wealth and social status of families or individuals over time. Some societies promote upward social mobility, others not so much. Some colleges and universities, just like societies, provide a better opportunity for social mobility. In higher education, social mobility is determined by the extent to which a university or a college provides education for more economically disadvantaged students (from families whose incomes fall below the national average) and make sure that they earn their degrees and secure well-paying jobs. Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is one of the best ranking universities when it comes to social mobility. Consider the college’s social mobility index when making your decision. Check out CollegeNET’s social mobility index rankings.
Professional Organizations for Black Nurses
There are several professional organizations for black nurses in the US. The National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) and Black Nurses Rock are the most popular professional organizations for black nurses. There are many advantages of joining the National Black Nurses Association or Black Nurses Rock. Here, African American nurses can get networking, professional development, mentoring, and job opportunities. There’s also the Minority Nurses Association which includes all ethnic minorities (Blacks, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, etc.) who underrepresented in the nursing profession. African American nurses will also enjoy various benefits from joining the Minority Nurses Association.
Scholarships and Other Opportunities for African-American Nurses
There are several scholarship opportunities for African American nurses. If you are a black nurse practitioner looking to advance your career but you don’t have the funds, you should consider applying for a black nurses scholarship. There are several black nurses association scholarships up for grabs too. That’s one of the biggest advantages of joining professional organizations. Any black nurse practitioner can apply for NBNA scholarships as long as he/she is a member. Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCU) such as Spelman College, the first black nursing school in the country, have great scholarship opportunities too.
(African-American nurses looking for perspectives on nursing while black may enjoy the Q the Nurse Podcast, one of our best nursing podcasts.)