BWFH's Nurses of Color ERG group members at a recent ZOOM meeting
For nurses of color at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital and around the country, the past year has been particularly trying—coping with the anguish that has come from the death of George Floyd and others, giving everything at work to save lives but still watching helplessly as Black and Brown patients die from COVID-19 in disproportionate numbers and confronting vaccine hesitancy from friends, family and community members.
Nenser Krua, BSN, RN, and Patricia Louijame, BSN, RN, grew tired of feeling alone and watching their colleagues of color struggle. So they took action, founding BWFH’s Nurses of Color Employee Resource Group (ERG).
With support from 6 North Nurse Director and Co-Chair of BWFH’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee Suzelle Saint-Eloi, MS, RN, Krua and Louijame invited nurses of color from across the hospital to participate. The group, which meets monthly via ZOOM, is focused on supporting nurses of color, providing an environment where colleagues can share experiences and collaborate to enact change.
“This is a dynamic group of nurses from all different backgrounds,” says Saint-Eloi. “Some are new to practice. Some have years of experience. Together we have a lot to offer each other and the BWFH community.”
For Krua, being a catalyst for change is very rewarding. “It means a lot to me to be able to make a difference,” she says. “By launching this ERG, we are saying, ‘You are not alone.’ This is a safe space. It’s a collective that is here for you. We can come together to decompress, destress and work on where we want to get to.”
In addition to providing a safe space for nurses of color to speak vulnerably and transparently, Louijame hopes the new group will have an impact on the broader BWFH community. “We’re not expecting drastic change right away, but we’re hopeful,” she says. “I hope the launch of our ERG shines a light on issues faced by our Black and Brown colleagues here at BWFH and makes people think about how they can support their colleagues in trying times like these.”
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