BJC nurses work to uncover unconscious biases
Nurses and team members across BJC gathered in early February for a conference dedicated toward uncovering unconscious biases. The BJC Diverse Nurses Connection group sponsored the Conscious Care Conference: Unleashing Our Unconscious Bias and Embracing the Communities We Serve as a way for nurses to enhance their skills providing exceptional care to the communities they serve. The all-day conference was filled with dialogue, conversation, reflection and team building. Those in attendance included members of the Diverse Nurses Connection group, along with other clinical and non-clinical BJC employees.
Barnes-Jewish Hospital chief nursing officer (CNO) Angelleen Peters-Lewis and St. Louis Children’s Hospital CNO Peggy Gordin, who both serve as executive sponsors of the Diverse Nurses Connection, kicked off the morning with a conversation focused on privilege, power and differences. Peters-Lewis spoke about her journey to BJH and how important it is to have relationships and “get real” conversations with others of different races, backgrounds and life experiences. She also shared how having real conversations has helped her develop a close relationship with Gordin over the past several years.
The guest speaker of the conference was Tamara Otey, RN, PhD, of Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, who presented “Culturally Competent Care – From Knowledge to Action.” Otey provided examples of how social and economic factors affect and shape the way patients understand the world and how it works. By embracing these learned set of rules, health care professionals have shown how to improve patient health outcomes.
The conference also included several other speakers:
- Christian Hospital president Rick Stevens welcomed attendees and introduced the president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Michael McMillan.
- McMillan spoke about the Urban League’s partnership with the BJC Diverse Nurses Connection. Through the partnership, group members volunteer to provide health services to African-American populations with limited access to health care through the Urban League’s mobile health van.
- The LGBT Connection group served on a panel that encouraged conference attendees to discuss the best ways to treat patients in the LGBTQ+ community.
“This conference gave team members a chance to hear about others’ experiences when interacting with patients of different diverse backgrounds. It gave everyone a chance to be in the shoes of someone else, and it led to a dialogue of how we can better handle and approach tough racial, cultural, sexist or any difficult situations,” says Terrie Hart, BJC workforce diversity manager. “My hope is that everyone took away something from the conference that they can apply to their work to make them better.”
The group plans to host and sponsor more events in the future to help team members reach their full potential.
Visit https://www.bjc.org/BJC-Connections to receive future news and event information about the BJC Diverse Nurses Connection group.
Watch a short video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99OkGIArDlU&t=3s) from the Conscious Care conference.