Opening to conversation and using story telling to prepare for social action
As nurses, you are acutely aware of how the COVID 19 pandemic has taken a toll on the physical and mental health of people around the world. This crisis has amplified the inequities in healthcare across communities of color. Early on, nurses such as Lillian Ward have been at the forefront of socially minded health care delivery. Ward was one of the first nurses to identify and address "upstream" causes for illness such as racial injustice, unsafe labor laws, and reduced access to health care. We are also aware that money is not the sole solution needed to improve health care in the United States because nurses see firsthand the necessity of social networks. It not only takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to promote health and care for the sick and elderly.
We are only as healthy as our ability to build a just society.
. While nurses have endured an overwhelming onslaught of stress while delivering care, they have also endured racial injustice and gender discrimination, or bore witness to it, with their employers and within their communities. Whereas 60% of the American Population is white, we find that 75% of nurses are white. Non-white nurses report having to experience racially based policy decisions, abuse from patients and increased emotional labor stemming from the need to maneuver around microaggressions. This leads to increased stress that negatively impact their ability to work as an equal professional in the health care setting.
Developing a dialog that includes compassionate and deep listening helps us prepare for social change.
We will be holding racial healing circles specifically for nursing professionals based on the Truth Racial Healing and Transformation process developed by Dr. Gail Christopher. The circles will be comprised of four 90 minutes sessions led by trained racial healing circle facilitators. In these circles you will be guided to explore your own experience of race in your community, work and family. The goal of the racial healing circles is for people to become more open and prepared to develop policies that support racial justice in organizations and society from a compassionate understanding.
Successful completion of the program will be based on 100% attendance with 90% on camera active time, completion of four reflexive writing pages and a program evaluation.
6 Contact hours will be awarded.
This nursing continuing professional development activity was approved by the American Holistic Nurses Association an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing center’s commission on accreditation.
Presenters have no conflict of interest to report
Racial Healing Circles are a time to be present with an open heart though engaged and compassionate listening. The goal of a racial healing circle is not to change policy or laws, but to heal the community by acknowledging hurt brought about by unconscious biases and structural racism that exists in the fabric of our lives. It can be described as spiritual work as we extend compassion and honor the common humanity in all of us.
Generally racial healing circles are comprised of three parts:
More than a time to listen to each other's stories, racial healing circles allow us to blend those stories into a new community fabric that can then support social change. Racial healing circles accomplish this by outlining a series of "touch stones" that describe how the circle participants will be with each other during the circles.
Be 100% present, extending and presuming welcome
Always by invitation
Speak your truth
When things get difficult, turn to wonder
Both Dr. Chan and Dr. Brooks have been part of the Lansing Metro TRHT program for the past three years. The development of the circles in Lansing and in Kalamazoo and Flint have been supported by One Love Global and The Kellogg Foundation. Dr . Chan and Dr. Brooks have also participated in bringing TRHT to other communities and organizations. Besides the requirement that all circles are led by persons of different races, Lillian and Roxane have created a wonderful working relationship and friendship over the past three years and look forward to bringing this powerful experience to nurses. It is our hope that as more nurses participate we will be able to train nurses to lead healing circles that specifically address the needs of nurse is all health care settings.