Special Issue: Robert Wood Johnson Faculty Scholars Program| Volume 65, ISSUE 3, P289, May 2017

Diversity: A key aspect of 21st century faculty roles

Published:January 16, 2017DOI:
      The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholars (NFS) program was a stellar career development for nurse scientists with intentionally focused efforts on diversity when seeking to shape the next generation of nursing leadership. As mentioned in the article by Adams, Campbell, and Deming (2017), the RWJF NFS paid special attention to taking steps to improve diversity among the academic leadership in nursing by implementing a diversity action plan from the onset of the program, implementing questions on health disparities and diversity as a key component in the application, having a diverse National Advisory Committee (NAC), and by consulting with a diversity firm for assistance with advertisement and recruitment of diverse candidates to become part of the application pool. The RWJF NFS program stands out from other career development or research grant mechanisms because it made diversity a key ingredient every step of the way, from inception of the program to selection of proposals and candidates to major components of the training. Another key component in the success of the RWJF NFS program not mentioned in the article was the level of one-on-one mentorship provided by institutional, national, and NAC leaders. Mentors and NAC members attended required trainings and conferences during the 3-year term of the NFS and were readily available for consultation for any of the scholars. As stated in the article, the RWJF NFS has been successful in training a number of diverse nurse scholars who have gone on to leadership positions in academia and are prominent change makers in their respective institutions and professional organizations such as the American Academy Nursing, Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science, and others. Although the NFS has sunset, the legacy of the valuable mentorship lives on with the 90 scholars and their commitment to enhancing diversity among nurse faculty and the student body. The 90 NFSs are acutely aware of the necessity building a cadre of nurses and nurse scientists who reflect the communities that we serve and are well equipped as leaders to make true strides in the elimination of health disparities. Additional examples of program impact at local schools of nursing which are not discussed in the article are actions taken by individuals who participated in the NFS program. These include: leading critical discussions on white privilege, establishing a scholarship for a group deemed a minority in nursing discipline, creating an annual Diversity Equity Leader award, and leading curricular changes to infuse cultural competence into all courses within the school of nursing. Although there continues to be much work to do in enhancing diversity in nursing, the RWJF NFS program laid an exemplary foundation that can and should be followed and built on by others for true change and actualizing better health care for all people.
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