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March 2, 2022  |  XXVI, Issue Number 4

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With Black History Month just passed, I have a positive and uplifting report about the NLN involvement with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that I am happy to share with you. Historically, HBCU schools of nursing have focused on first-generation students and those from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. They are key to expanding diversity in the health care workforce and addressing the systemic inequities that people of color experience in our health care system.

To enhance support for HBCU schools of nursing and help produce diverse nurse leaders, the NLN partnered with Johnson & Johnson in 2021 to bring a yearlong, multifaceted program in leadership development to six HBCUs that offer four-year baccalaureate degrees in nursing. The NLN-J&J project, Transitioning Senior Nursing Students in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) into Clinical Practice, is managed by the NLN Institute for Diversity and Global Initiatives under the NLN Center for Transformational Leadership

The program takes an integrated approach involving both students and faculty and has three main objectives: 1) assist students to develop leadership competencies at the macro and micro levels of organizational systems; 2) enhance faculty coaching and debriefing skills to assist them to facilitate students’ learning and critical thinking skills; and 3) foster career development for faculty. The nursing departments and colleges of six HBCUs are currently in the project: Alcorn State University, Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Howard University, Norfolk State University, and the University of the District of Columbia. Sixty faculty and 300 senior nursing students have been selected by their institutions to participate, and an additional three HBCU schools of nursing will be included for 2022-2023.

Dr. Janice Brewington, NLN chief program officer and director for the Center for Transformational Leadership, and Dr. Sandra Davis, deputy director of the NLN/Walden University College of Nursing Institute for Social Determinants of Health and Social Change, have written a detailed account of the program and its strategic components for the Headlines from the NLN in the current issue of Nursing Education Perspectives.
Coaching for Excellence
I want to emphasize one key component of the NLN-J&J program here, that is, the unique and innovative NLN Faculty Coaching for Excellence course, which provides faculty with coaching and debriefing skills. This is an interactive, five-module program that covers adult learning theory and how to apply theory to practice. Each module contains content and a virtual video challenge, and learners receive feedback from a trained NLN consultant and their peers. The Coaching for Excellence course is available to all educators at intervals throughout the year, and I recommend that you take advantage of it when it is offered. The next registration deadline is coming up on April 3.


This is just one of the hands-on, interactive opportunities the NLN offers for faculty and leadership development. As noted on our newly redesigned website, we want to help you “gain professional success and grow your impact on nursing education.” We are committed to developing nursing leaders.
The Importance of Mentors
Let me emphasize here that coaching is not the same as mentoring, and the terms are not at all interchangeable. With Black History Month merging into Women’s History Month in March, I think back to those strong women who helped guide me through the various stages of my career—as a novice faculty member, through my career as an administrator, and as I took the leap toward leadership. It was not available to me as a novice faculty member, but I am quite sure that my mentors would have encouraged me to take part in Coaching for Excellence, as well as the other opportunities offered by the NLN. They helped steer me in my career and I will always remember them with gratitude and love.
I was very fortunate in having a unique “Mentoring Posse” of incredibly talented leaders who watched over me and my colleagues as we moved through our programs. I received my doctorate in clinical psychology but I was allowed to be with my nursing colleagues and mentors. These exceptional nurses were Dr. Elizabeth Carnegie, whom I spoke about in a recent Member Update; Dr. Rhetaugh Dumas, who later became president of the NLN; and Dr. Gloria Smith, Dr. Faye Gary, Miss Vernice Ferguson, and the ringleader, Dr. Hattie Bessent. All mentees could expect a call between 5 and 6 in the morning checking on our progress. This surveillance included deans, faculty, and others who knew to value, accept the calls, and work with the important inclusion of the Mentoring Posse.
Dr. Nancy Langston, former president of the NLN and former dean of Virginia Commonweath University School of Nursing, speaks fondly of her work with the Mentoring Posse and their contribution to the growth and development of leaders. When Dr. Bessent began her work with the Ethnic Racial Minority Program at the American Nurses Association, there were fewer than 20 nurses with doctorates in the country. As she edged toward her retirement, there were more than 200 doctorally-prepared nurses of various ethnic racial backgrounds. The program remains alive and well. To read more about these pioneering women, go to the Soul of Leadership written by Dr. Hattie Bessent and published in 2005 by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
One NLN program that clearly encompasses mentorship is our highly regarded Scholarly Writing Retreat, offered by the NLN | Chamberlain University College of Nursing Center for the Advancement of the Science of Nursing Education. This program will be offered twice in 2022, once in person over three days during the summer, and once virtually in three sessions during the fall. Applications for both cohorts are open now, and group size is limited.


What makes our Scholarly Writing Retreat unique is the mentorship element. You will be guided in selecting journals suitable for your research; constructing an outline and writing your manuscript; and revising as needed until your manuscript is accepted for publication. You will have the opportunity to work closely with your group’s facilitator, Dr. Marilyn Oermann (summer) or Dr. Leslie Nicoll (fall), for up to a year, until you achieve success. Details about the 2022 programs, with timelines, are online.
Apply for a Scholarship
Other applications are online now—for NLN Nursing Education Scholarship Awards, up to $8,000 for nurses pursuing advanced degrees to advance their career as full-time nurse educators, and for Home Instead Scholarships to promote geriatric education for nursing students, plus two brand-new scholarships. These are the Edmund J. Y. Pajarillo Nursing Information Scholarship and the Cecilla Lou Vriheas Scholarship, specifically for future educators who belong to a historically marginalized/excluded group and are the first in their family to pursue higher education. The application period for all these opportunities closes May 26.
Let me remind you also that applications for the Social Determinants of Health Social Change Leadership Academy must be in by April 30. That program, from the NLN and the Walden University College of Nursing, is one I certainly would have applied to if it had been available to me when I was a nursing faculty member. Under the leadership of Dr. Sandra Davis, it will equip nursing education and interprofessional leaders to lead in preparing future care providers to confidently and competently promote social change and advance health equity. Read the Headlines From the NLN in the January-February issue of Nursing Education Perspectives.
I will close, colleagues, with thoughts about Ukraine. In my office, there is a talented young man from the Ukraine who is now a citizen of the United States. I can only imagine what it is like for the nurses and other care providers there during this time. How heartbreaking it is to be on the frontlines of so much destruction.
The International Council of Nurses has issued a statement on the situation and the International Rescue Committee and other organizations are accepting donations to help refugees. Let us hope there will be a satisfactory conclusion to this conflict soon.

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