Find motivation in these black nurses

More than just a nurse; Find motivation with these everyday black nurses who strived to help and lead to greatness

Over the course of my 18 years as a nurse, I have always seen myself as a nurse. No more, no less. I don’t walk into work every day and think to myself, “I’m a black nurse.”. Being black is in no way shameful or an embarrassment to me; it’s just not in my nature to think about who I am every day. Or what kind of nurse I identify myself as. 

Even if a patient didn’t call me by my name, I never took offense to it. Since I have trouble remembering names, I do not fault anyone else for not knowing my name. 

I didn’t feel offended, either, because I knew who I was. It was more important for the patient to know they were in good hands in my care rather than being called by my first name. 

The goal is to be confident in who you are and what you are and get the job done……… You celebrate those things that make up the fabric of who you are when it when its time to shine the spotlight. 

I know you thought this would be heavy, but it’s not. 

Let me shout out to the most influential black nurses in our history. During my research, I found a great document put together by Chamberlin University to highlight these nurses. 

But I want to highlight a few of them as we close out this week’s celebration of Black history. 

  1. Mary Seacole– A British-Jamaican nurse who set up the British hotel during the Crimea war when Florence was out there doing her thing. She was denied a position with Crimea so she decided to set up her own shop with the British hotel
  2. Mary Eliza Mahoney- First Black woman to earn a professional nursing license in the U.S.
  3. Estelle Massey Osborne- The first Black nurse in the U.S. to earn a master’s degree and first Black faculty member of NYU’s College of Nursing, fought for racial equality in nursing
  4. Catherine Alicia Georges- Nurse, author, former president of the Board of Directors for AARP
  5. Beverly Malone- President and CEO of the National League for Nursing, former general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, and former federal deputy assistant secretary for health
  6. Ernest Grant- First Black Man as President of the American Nurses Association

We honor these great nurses who have paved the way for many of us, and we celebrate black nurses everywhere. If not for them, I would not be able to write to you every week to inspire you to be the best nurse you can be, no matter your race. Together we can make a real difference. 

You may not feel like you can be like these great black nurses. But remember, they started like you just wanting to help, wanting to make a difference. 

Look around today and ask yourself, what can I do to fill my cup and help others simultaneously? While it’s probably not something you do every day, the connection to it and your work as a nurse makes you want more from your career.

Until next time….

Bonnie Meadows MSN, APRN, ACCNS-AG 

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