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New IDEAS Committee Focuses on Fostering a More Inclusive Environment

10b new ideas
Kenneth M. Faulkner

The first provision of the American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics for Nurses states that “the nurse practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth and unique attributes of every person” (2015). Furthermore, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) encourages the advancement of diversity, inclusion and equity in academic nursing to promote greater appreciation for health inequities and the perspectives of people from different backgrounds (2021). Similarly, the faculty of the School of Nursing at Stony Brook want all students, staff, faculty and administrators to feel welcomed, valued and supported regardless of their identity. To that end, the Faculty Assembly of the School of Nursing approved the formation of a new committee, titled the Committee for Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Social Justice (IDEAS). 

The IDEAS committee, led by Kenneth M. Faulkner, PhD, RN, ANP, FHFSA, Director of the Basic and Accelerated Baccalaureate Nursing Programs and Coordinator of the Veteran’s Nursing Program, and Assistant Professor Clare Whitney, PhD, MBE, RN, will meet on a monthly basis to promote and nurture an environment of respect and inclusivity. The work of the committee began at the end of the spring 2021 semester, at which time students were asked to review the School of Nursing website to see if they could identify the resources that are available to them. Based on their feedback, the website will be revised to include a highly visible “Support Services” tab with information about all the resources available to support student success. 

Going forward, the committee will act as a resource for faculty who are looking for ways to integrate the topics of inclusivity, diversity, equity and social justice in their curriculum. The committee also will provide guidance on how to recruit and retain a diverse faculty and student body. Members of the committee will be available to hear and address complaints of bias from students, staff, faculty and administrators in the School of Nursing. Importantly, with the guidance of the Chief Diversity Officer at Stony Brook University, the committee will conduct a survey over the 2021-2022 academic year to identify perceptions of the climate within the School of Nursing. Based on the results of this survey, the committee will develop and implement programs designed to create a more inclusive environment. 

Membership of the IDEAS committee will include representatives from both the undergraduate and graduate departments. Presently, membership consists of Dr. Rakiya Watts, Dr. Kammy McLoughlan, Dr. Maria Milazzo, Dr. Rewa Thompson, Dr. Barbara Brathwaite and Dr. Denise Snow. The members of the IDEAS committee realize that input from others outside the faculty is essential to improving the climate in the School of Nursing. Therefore, students, staff members and administrators will be invited to participate on this committee to gain greater perspective into how the climate can be improved. If you are interested in learning more about this committee, contact Faulkner at Kenneth.faulkner@stonybrook.edu. Working together, we hope the School of Nursing will be a more inviting place to work and study the practice of nursing.

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