DNA’s Story at Kent State University
The Diversity in Nursing Association (DNA) was founded in 2016 by students on campus in an attempt to create an organization for all sorts of students with different backgrounds and cultures to come together with a main commonality: an aspiration to become future healthcare workers. The creation of this organization calls out for “ANYONE AND EVERYONE,” initiating open invitations to develop a place of comfort and vulnerability for those who are going to be the next frontline workers. Our board is recruiting more and more diverse members with the symbolization of how diversity shows strength, courage, importance, and unity by many.
We hosted many different events throughout campus such as a blast-off and ‘black squirrel’ parade, different mixers with other organizational groups on campus, a health fair, virtual talks, and study group sessions. The mentor-menteeship program allows an upperclassman within the organization to be paired up with an underclassman to foster effective growth and connection throughout their years on campus. During these hard times with the pandemic, it has been hard to initiate events that we were planning for. However, as we grow, we are working on incorporating several other events virtually.
Experiences as DNA President
It has been challenging. From so many crazy events happening within the past 2-3 years, 2019 following into the whole year of 2020, and now 2021, it’s been a crazy ride for many. I believe the world has become a sadder place, but it’s up to us and the next generation to change that as evolution still takes place. The challenges of going virtual have limited some of the events we wanted to implement. However, we are all being flexible to take the lead and be more creative. We can still create opportunities for our members to take part in within their community in a safe, positive way.
My favorite moments are listening to some of our guest speakers’ interesting stories. Some get very deep, raw, and explicit, just as the reality within the healthcare field is. Even as president, I am constantly learning and growing from everyone around me, especially all the great members we have.
A Career as a Nurse
I first wanted to become a Trauma Surgeon and sought to take the pre-med route at Kent State. After doing some research and coming to realizations, as many of my family’s generations consist of doctors, I decided to do something more direct in giving back and helping people. Being a more personable person, I believe that nurses have the most direct contact and connection with their patients. With that being said, I chose my path as a nurse. I love the concept and practice of bedside nursing, and I believe I am able to make a better change through the stance of a practitioner standpoint. Given my belief in health equity and competency within all my nursing practice, I knew I could make a greater impact by furthering my education and stance within the field of nursing. This will allow me to stand more within a leadership role, to stand for the power and importance of diversity within the medical/healthcare field of practice.
As I believe in health equity and competency within all my nursing practice, I believe I could make a greater impact by furthering my education and stance within the field of nursing.
Awareness of the Need for Diversity in Nursing
It is vitally important for people to become more aware about the issues of diversity in nursing due to revolving doors of healthcare and the melting pot of the country we live in. Spreading awareness about the importance of having a diverse workforce is key to increasing better patient outcomes. It is proven by many! With more research on this topic, it is vital that those who are taking care of others are aware and educated amongst different cultures, diverse backgrounds, and races. Not only will this help with better patient outcomes, but also increase satisfaction and positivity within our workforce and communities. Isn’t that what we always want?
What is better than connecting with your nurse or being able to open up with your nurse or healthcare professional, because they truly care and understand you? NOTHING! I believe that healthcare can’t always be fair and perfect, but we can take steps forward to ensure the best care possible for our patients, to spread the goodness of health.
It is vital that those who are taking care of others are aware and educated amongst different cultures, diverse backgrounds, and races.
An Eventful and Challenging 2020
In light of the demand for healthcare workers to compensate for those who are fighting the virus, long story short, to keep it real, raw, and honest, it has been emotionally and mentally draining, and demanding. From working with COVID-19 patients to staffing units that have lost nurses who have ‘burnt out’ or are recovering from contracting the virus, it has been a hectic ride in striving to staff all the hospitals in an efficient manner. Therefore, during this break, I owed it to myself to take it one day at a time. I need to work to pay my bills and survive, and with my passion for helping people, it is my job to be on the frontline. I signed up for this! I do take pride in all it requires.
Students can help our effort regarding diversity in nursing by raising awareness through supportive posts on social media, by helping us spread the word about our upcoming events, giving shout outs, tagging our social media handles, and even participating in our welcoming meetings! We help give students every experience to talk openly about changes and awareness that need to be made within the community and nursing field.
There are so many opportunities at Kent State and in the surrounding communities. I have many resources and people who can help others connect. It’s better to email me with any questions, comments or concerns in any of these fields—firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
Arianne Sherzai is President of the Diversity in Nursing Association (DNA) at Kent State University.