MORROW — Clayton State University has committed $5,000 toward student scholarships as part of a statewide project of the Georgia Nursing Leadership Coalition to increase the number of black male nurses in Georgia.
The GNLC’s grant was selected as one of 10 Nursing Innovations Fund Award winners by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Clayton State School of Nursing is working with the GLNC, a group made up of several Georgia organizations and agencies.
Innovation grantees will receive up to $25,000 from the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to address inequalities in the healthcare system.
“We are proud to be selected for our project, High School to Higher Education: Increasing Black Male Representation in Nursing, and look forward to building on our work to transform nursing in order to improve health, healthcare, and build health equity,” said Lisa Eichelberger, Dean of the College of Health and co-lead of the Georgia Action Coalition, part of the Georgia Nursing Leadership Coalition.
The percentage of Black nurses in Georgia is much lower than the African American population in the state, Eichelberger said. Only 10% of registered nurses identify as Black, and 9% of the total nursing population identify as male.
Eichelberger says that patients of color report a more positive experience, and higher quality of care, when medical professionals identify with them.
“Black Americans are among the most socioeconomically depressed minority communities in the country, which also places this community at a higher risk of experiencing poorer health outcomes,” Eichelberger said. “We know that the care provided by clinicians of color results in better outcomes for patients of color than when the patients are cared for by clinicians without minority backgrounds.”
As part of the coalition’s efforts, Clayton State’s School of Nursing plans to partner with Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services to support high schoolers enrolled in the Fire Services’ firefighter and EMT training.
Many of those high school students have shown interest in nursing, Eichelberger said. Black male students in the program will be paired with registered nurses and family nurse practitioners who are African American males that will serve as role models.
They will also participate in educational programs that include applying for college, financial management, thriving in college and career options in health care.
As this project grows, Eichelberger said the next step is to increase the number of Latino nurses.
“Nurses of Latinx heritage are underrepresented in the nursing profession as well as other people of color,” Eichelberger said. “We hope to expand the mentoring and scholarship program to promote success among multiple underrepresented groups. Our patients need the quality care that they will provide.”
The Georgia Nursing Leadership Coalition consists of several community partners, including The Atlanta Black Nurses Association, Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services, Clayton State University School of Nursing, Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Georgia Nurses Association and United Advanced Practice Nurses of Georgia. Each group has provided matching funds for the grant.