Washington College Creates ‘Anti-Racism’ Center For Nursing Students

Nursing students and faculty must recognize their privilege and how it disadvantages others.
Students at the University of Washington are on campus for the last day of in-person classes on March 6, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. The University will close starting Monday, March 9, as a precautionary reaction to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak for the remainder of the winter quarter.
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The University of Washington created a “Center for Anti-Racism in Nursing” alongside a pledge for nursing students to commit to advancing “anti-racist” policies. 

According to a review by The College Fix, the university’s new anti-racism center was created to “cultivate anti-racist teaching practices, academic curriculum, and professional development.” Other goals include “applying anti-racist principles to clinical practice, organizational operations, and health-related policy.”

In a press release, the university said the center was imperative to address systemic racism and address the racial disparities of the coronavirus. 

“Systemic racism has for generations undermined the health of individuals and communities across America, a public health crisis that has made the pandemic even more deadly and destructive for people of color,” the university said. 

In the same press release, the executive dean of the nursing school said, “the need to end racism is long overdue and nurses must do their part.” 

A University of Washington alumni and nurse practitioner for “Catholic Health Initiatives” said that she thinks the anti-racism center will help reconcile past injustices. 

“I believe the process of creating the Center for Anti-Racism in Nursing will provide a way for the school to reconcile and find resolve within its own walls that have promoted anti-blackness and white privilege,” the nurse practitioner said. “The Center will represent the first and essential steps in equity and cultivate social justice for all.”

The nursing center also created an anti-racism pledge. The official wording of the pledge is still under consideration by the university and has been removed from the school’s website. The College Fix uncovered a cached version of the webpage.  

The pledge calls on nursing students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members to “recognize the devastating impact of systemic racism on health and well-being for Black, Indigenous, and other People and Communities of Color.” 

It also claims that the university and nursing profession at large is at fault for advancing “racist policies and practices.” 

“Our educational systems, including our school and university, and the nursing profession have advanced racist policies and practices that have harmed and excluded BIPOC individuals and communities,” the pledge reads. 

Nursing students and faculty are also called to recognize their privilege and how it disadvantages others. Nurses must become knowledgeable about anti-racism and vow to “disrupt” in order to “transform systems of inequity and oppression.”

Additionally, the nursing community was asked to “work to destabilize, revolutionize, and transform the oppressive systems that shape all aspects of our learning, our scholarship, and our workspaces.” 

“I believe in the critical importance of a just, inclusive, and equitable society, in which its educational and health systems reflect anti-racist values,” the pledge concludes. 

Other universities have taken steps towards cultivating “anti-racism” in their nursing schools. The University of Minnesota created a list of Black Lives Matter and anti-racism resources specifically for nursing students. The University of Virginia created an anti-racism workgroup for nursing students as well. 

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