Faculty, staff, and students must assume the power of taking responsibility for co-creating a civil environment, sharing a collective commitment, and cherishing the joy of establishing a healthful work environment, grounded in a vibrant and respectful community of colleagues.
WASHINGTON August 28, 2018
The National League for Nursing has issued a clarion call for cultural transformation in schools of nursing, with a newly published entry to its Vision Series: Creating Community to Build a Civil and Healthy Academic Work Environment. The statement urges nurse educators and, by extension, nursing students, to collaborate in creating and implementing strategies and interventions that promote civility and inclusivity.
“The NLN's mission and core values of caring, integrity, diversity/inclusiveness, and excellence lead us to believe that one of the most important roles we play, as nurses and nurse educators, is creating and sustaining a culture of civility and respect in nursing education, so that both faculty, staff and students may thrive and students may develop the skills necessary to transform clinical practice environments once they graduate,” said NLN President G. Rumay Alexander, EdD, RN, FAAN, a professor and associate vice chancellor of diversity and inclusion/chief diversity officer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The genesis for this latest Vision Series document was the theme of the 2017 NLN Education Summit in San Diego last fall: Our Community of Colleagues. At the gathering, participants were inspired by NLN CEO Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, who in her annual CEO address called for a national dialogue to build a community of nurse educator colleagues imbued with caring, collaboration, communication, competence, and courage, leading to a culture of civility. In addition, both formal and informal conversations during the Summit revealed much evidence that an ethos of civility among nurse educators is now at risk.
“Faculty, staff, and students must assume the power of taking responsibility for co-creating a civil environment, sharing a collective commitment, and cherishing the joy of establishing a healthful work environment, grounded in a vibrant and respectful community of colleagues,” Dr. Malone offered.
Following the Summit, the NLN convened an action group of experts in academic civility to explore the NLN's conviction that building and sustaining civility within the academic community is imperative for nurse educators, students, and staff. Understanding that civility must carry over to health care institutions to transform the work environment for nurses will ultimately benefit patients and families.
One concrete result of the group's efforts has been to update the NLN Healthful Work Environment Toolkit©, originally published in 2005. The revised 2018 toolkit has a heightened focus on fostering safe, civil, and collegial learning environments. Another outcome is a list of essential questions the group developed that embody the essence of academic civility and are fundamental to establishing a strong community of colleagues. The questions are designed to initiate and sustain courageous conversations among faculty, institutional leadership, students, and other stakeholders to bring about and maximize civility within academic environments.
The complete text of Creating Community to Build a Civil and Healthy Academic Work Environment is available on the NLN website.
In November, the NLN will host, How to Improve the Health of Your Learning Environment: Fostering Civility Among Students and Faculty, a two-day workshop that will equip educators with tangible strategies to cultivate civility within the learning environment; and to more adeptly handle difficult student situations when they do occur.
Workshop registration is now open.
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