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Pioneering Frontier Nursing University Named 1 of 50 Nursing Schools for National DEI Initiative

Analysis  |  By Carol Davis  
   August 15, 2022

Project was launched to help nursing schools create environments where students, faculty, and staff feel a sense of belonging and are encouraged to thrive.

A Kentucky nursing school that has worked to provide diversity in healthcare for more than a decade is one of 50 U.S. nursing schools selected for a national initiative to foster inclusive learning environments and build a more diverse nursing workforce.

Frontier Nursing University (FNU) in Versailles, Kentucky, is among the schools of nursing chosen by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to participate in the project Building a Culture of Belonging in Academic Nursing. AACN launched this initiative to help nursing schools create environments where students, faculty, and staff possess a strong sense of belonging and are encouraged to thrive.

“Creating a learning culture where all individuals are able to develop and do their best work is critical to achieving academic nursing’s goals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Dr. Deborah Trautman, AACN president and CEO. “AACN is pleased to join with 50 member schools to pilot test a new tool that will help to evolve how nurse educators approach teaching, learning, and professional engagement.”

To support this project, AACN developed a digital platform to administer its Leading Across Multidimensional Perspectives (LAMP®) Culture and Climate Survey.

This instrument collects data on student, faculty, and staff perceptions of their college classrooms as communities in five areas: fair treatment and observations of discrimination; belongingness; value of diversity and inclusion; campus services; and clinical training.

Using data collected from LAMP, AACN will provide assessments and action reports to the participating schools related to developing inclusive academic environments. This tool provides administrators with a better understanding of how their campus climate influences student experiences and achievement so they can initiate change, target areas of growth, and improve student outcomes.

AACN will also use aggregate data collected from participating schools to identify best practices and success strategies that can be deployed at institutions nationwide.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has been an intentional component of Frontier Nursing University’s goals, initiatives, and planning since 2010, when the university launched PRIDE (Promoting Recruitment and Retention to Increase Diversity in Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse Practitioner Education). Now known as the Diversity Impact Program, PRIDE was specifically intended to raise the level of diversity in student enrollment.

In 2010, the enrollment of students of color was 9%. Today, that number has risen to more than 27%, and FNU’s DEI efforts have expanded exponentially to include all members and aspects of the FNU community, including faculty and staff diversity, curriculum content, recruitment, and retention. 

“We are honored to have been selected to participate in this important initiative,” said FNU Interim Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Paula Alexander-Delpech, Ph.D., PMHNP-BC, APRN.

Schools selected to participate in this pilot study are geographically diverse and represent a range of institutional types—public and private institutions; small and large schools; rural and urban-serving programs, etc.

Pilot testing of the LAMP survey will be completed in spring 2023. AACN will disseminate aggregate findings to all schools of nursing next year.

Related:  How Frontier Nursing University Has Pioneered a More Diverse Healthcare System

“Creating a learning culture where all individuals are able to develop and do their best work is critical to achieving academic nursing’s goals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

ANC has chosen 50 nursing schools to participate in the project, "Building a Culture of Belonging in Academic Nursing."

One of those schools, Frontier Nursing University, has developed DEI programs for more than 10 years.

AACN will disseminate aggregate findings from the project to all nursing schools next year.


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