About 100 minority nurses from throughout California will meet Saturday at Saint Agnes Medical Center to talk about the role for nurses in patient advocacy and leadership.
Statistics show the need for more minority nurses in California and the central San Joaquin Valley, said Pilar De La Cruz-Reyes, a member of the California State Board of Registered Nursing and director of the Central California Center for Excellence in Nursing at Fresno State.
For example, statewide about 7 percent of nurses are Latino, while the Latino population in California is about 40 percent.
And according to a 2014 Board of Nursing report, Latinos will continue to be underrepresented – and become more underrepresented – in the nursing workforce over time. Blacks will be slightly underrepresented until 2030, and all other racial groups will be overrepresented in comparison to the general population.
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The share of white nurses has declined from 77.2 percent in 1990 to 51.6 percent in 2014, but the most highly represented nonwhite group is Filipinos at 20.3 percent and non-Filipino Asians at 8.5 percent. Black nurses are about 5 percent of the workforce.
The whole purpose of this meeting is to get more minority nurses into leadership positions so we can serve as role models and mentors for those minority students who want to go into nursing but don’t see a way to get there.
Pilar De La Cruz-Reyes, California State Board of Registered Nursing
“The whole purpose of this meeting is to get more minority nurses into leadership positions so we can serve as role models and mentors for those minority students who want to go into nursing but don’t see a way to get there,” De La Cruz-Reyes said.
Minority nurses can educate their peers about the nursing profession, said Kimberly Horton, chief executive officer at Vibra Hospital of Sacramento. Nursing programs need to be marketed to the Latino population, she said. “It’s just an opportunity they never thought about.”
Horton, an African American registered nurse, will be one of five speakers at the “Minority Nurse Leadership in the 21st Century” meeting that will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kremen Education Center at Saint Agnes.
Horton worked for a dozen years at Saint Agnes, where she served as director of cardiovascular operations and developed the Sickle Cell Treatment Center.
Minority nurses can be advocates for patients, Horton said.
They bring an understanding of health beliefs that are ethically, culturally and religiously based and that can affect patients’ health, she said. “Nurses can dispel some of those misunderstandings or misperceptions about health because they understand where they came from.”
It’s also important that nurses who represent ethnic groups are included in the development of health care plans for patients, “so the plan is something they can logically do and not something they step away from that can negatively impact their health,” she said.
Besides Horton, speakers at Saturday’s meeting include Joseph Morris, executive officer of the state Board of Registered Nursing; Mary Dickow, statewide director of the California Action Coalition who works with Health Impact on the future of nursing in California; Katherine Abriam-Yago, nursing director of the Valley Foundation School of Nursing at San Jose State University; and Mila Velasquez, president of the National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations.