The values of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are fundamentally, inextricably, and integrally linked to the University of Colorado College of Nursing at Anschutz Medical Campus’s present and future. CU College of Nursing’s DEI goal is to prepare nurses to be culturally responsive, and to demonstrate cultural humility while providing compassionate, person-centered care.
Now, CU Nursing has an opportunity to take its DEI commitment to an even higher level. The college was recently selected by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to participate in a survey to help educational institutions create learning environments where all students feel a strong sense of belonging and purpose.
Funded by Johnson & Johnson, the 18-month initiative scales up the use of AACN’s Leading Across Multidimensional Perspectives (LAMP©) Culture and Climate Survey to better assess the experiences of diverse nursing students and identify practices that facilitate student success, and close health equity gaps.
Creating a ‘culture of belonging’
CU Nursing Dean and Professor Elias Provencio-Vasquez, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAANP, says the selection by AACN to participate in the initiative underscores the college’s commitment to DEI, while helping the college build a culture where everyone can thrive.
“The experience of belonging is essential to the professional formation of future nurses,” Provencio-Vasquez says. “Diverse students often face disparities that impose barriers to staying in school and earning degrees. CU Nursing has identified DEI as part of our strategic priorities. The AACN initiative will allow us to gather specific information that will inform meaningful decisions on how we prioritize this important work.”
CU Nursing DEI Coordinator Emily Gamm, MSW, LCSW, CAS, notes that the college was chosen in a “competitive process” in which over 1,000 institutions applied but only about 250 were selected throughout the country. The AACN developed a digital platform to guide decision-making for participating institutions.
“To truly understand where we are going, we need to know where we are,” Gamm says. “This opportunity will provide a window into where we are as a community and as a culture. Using a DEI lens is essential to making meaningful changes in culture, toward a culture of belonging. By participating in the survey, you’ll help equip CU Nursing with the tools we need to build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community and culture for years to come.”
“Every person in the college has a unique life experience and a unique voice. I hope that robust participation in the survey will inform and direct the conversation about transformational changes we’d like to see.” — CU Nursing Dean and Professor Elias Provencio-Vasquez, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAANP.
Next steps: Check your email!
Throughout March, CU Nursing will reach out to students, faculty, and staff with emails directing them to the survey hyperlink. Gamm estimates the survey will take participants roughly 12 minutes to complete, but the results will provide valuable feedback for CU Nursing in the longer term.
The survey is intended to give academic administrators a better understanding of how the learning environment at CU Nursing is influencing student experiences and achievement. Ultimately, the data will help initiate change, target areas of growth, and most importantly, improve student outcomes.
Dean Provencio-Vasquez strongly encourages all students, faculty, and staff at CU Nursing to look for the emails and to take time to complete the survey.
“This is an opportunity for your voices to be heard,” he says. “Every person in the college has a unique life experience and a unique voice. I hope that robust participation in the survey will inform and direct the conversation about transformational changes we’d like to see.”
How survey results will be used
After data collection is completed at the end of April, Gamm says results should be available by June, 2023. The information and analysis will be disseminated in a series of town hall meetings, presentations, and other communications throughout the year.
Gamm adds that the Dean has authorized a consultant to work with the college, the campus community, and other partners to develop a stronger DEI framework for CU Nursing.