Health equity has been identified as a key focus in the Future of Nursing Report 2020-2030. Organizations across the nation are trying to understand how they can involve clinical nurses in health equity efforts. This project explains how one organization leveraged feedback from front-line staff to create a community-based health equity service projects. This project can be easily replicated by other organizations who are also working to engage front-line staff in health equity work. Our organizational community health needs assessment (CHNA) explored community concerns related to health for historically marginalized populations; access to health care, housing, transportation, mental health resources, and prevention and education are the needs the community prioritized. To address these needs with institutional resources, the organization formed an implementation strategy with the goal of engaging leaders, staff, and community partners. One implementation strategy involved the engagement of clinical staff in the design of community-based health equity projects that improve outcomes for various minority patient populations. With staffing shortages and limited resources, we were tasked to understand how we could engage nursing staff in work that advances health equity within our community. Through listening sessions and a staff survey, clinical staff were interviewed with a goal of understanding their interest and willingness to participate in this work. The outcome of listening sessions and staff survey identified that front-line nursing staff have significant interest in helping advance the organizational health equity mission. Listening sessions also identified perceived barriers to assisting with community projects, populations staff that are interested in serving, and ways the organization can support nursing staff in doing this work. After data was collected from listening sessions and the staff survey, our team was able to design community-based service projects from the input of clinical nurses. The opportunities and partnerships were then distributed for staff participation. The outcome of this project has resulted in the engagement of clinical nursing staff in community partnerships, grant applications, and the community-based prevention and educational efforts. Examples include Spanish-speaking nurses educating elderly Hispanic adults on the importance of daily activity and the development of vital sign education and future distribution of blood pressure cuffs to elderly homebound patients.
MSN, RN, NE-BC,
Associate Nursing Officer,
Vanderbilt University Medical Center