American Nephrology Nurses Association National Symposium

American Nephrology Nurses Association National Symposium

Source:

Alexander G. Session #110. Presented at: American Nephrology Nurses Association National Symposium; May 1-5, 2021 (virtual meeting).



Disclosures: Alexander reports no relevant financial disclosures.
May 03, 2021
2 min read
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Nursing needs ‘perspectives without judgement’ to help manage challenges in health care

Source:

Alexander G. Session #110. Presented at: American Nephrology Nurses Association National Symposium; May 1-5, 2021 (virtual meeting).



Disclosures: Alexander reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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In health care where emergent dialysis to manage kidney disease is part of the new normal, it is important that nurses consider all options – and viewpoints – as they build leadership skills, a speaker said.

“I define diversity ... as holding multiple perspectives without judgment,” G. Rumay Alexander, EdD, RN, FAAN, said during the Janelle Parker Memorial keynote session at the American Nephrology Nurses Association National Symposium, a virtual event. “It is the judgments that get us in trouble,” she said.

G. Rumay Alexander

“I believe that asking questions is a fateful act,” Alexander, a professor in the school of nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said. “If you don't ask them, things will still get done and they'll still operate, but you're much more informed when you're asking questions.”

Nurses focused on developing leadership skills must realize that words have taken on new meaning in an era focused on diversity, Alexander told attendees.

“Words do matter. We live in a time when, like never before, that has been clear,” she said. “There is no such thing as any of us ever not having a cultural encounter. These are interactions with our patients, our interprofessional colleagues and our team members.”

Alexander said it is important to minimize certainty and to maximize curiosity. “In the certainty, comes assumptions and judgements,” she told attendees. “You want to minimize that. You want to maximize curiosity by asking questions, being on a treasure hunt, if you will, with each and every person that you encounter.”

“I believe all our ideas are made out of love or out of fear, and fear-based decision-making is the worst way to make decisions,” Alexander, a former president of the National League for Nursing, said. “Where the implicit is not made explicit, injustices flourishes.”

Alexander outlined the following key steps for nephrology nurses who want to take charge:

  • engage in essential conversations to make progress on difficult subjects, such as race, racism, ethnicity and privilege;
  • speak your truth but value everyone’s thoughts. Start by assuming good intentions. “It’s important that we create a safe environment where everyone is free to speak openly,” Alexander said;
  • disagree respectfully, allowing for mistakes. “There will be concerns of saying something wrong. Consider these learning opportunities,” she said;
  • listen for understanding; listen without thinking about how you are going to respond. “Try to understand where another person is coming from as best you can;”
  • honor confidentiality so that what is shared with you stays with you; and
  • expect and accept non-closure. “Engaging in race conversations is ongoing work that does not necessarily leave a person walking away feeling everything turned out the way they hoped,” Alexander said. “Accept that much of this is about changing yourself, not others.

“Remember the culture where you work and the culture in your organization.” Alexander said. “It is created by those who compose the community, that organization or that place of work, so you are part of the culture.”