Frontier Nursing University (FNU) hosted its 7th annual Diversity Impact Conference on June 1-4, 2017. Last summer, four Couriers attended Diversity Impact prior to beginning the Courier Program. Due to their positive experience, Diversity Impact became mandatory for all future Couriers! Ambassadors from Breckinridge Capital Advisors, who sponsored the 2017 Courier Program, also attended the conference.
On the first evening of the weekend, Courier Coordinator Mandy Hancock and Associate Professor Dr. Diane John led an activity entitled “Patient/Provider Care: Do you see what I see?” Attendees were split up into groups of three. One person had to verbally describe a drawing to another, a second person drew and the third person observed the communication between them. Each person was able to experience all three positions and engage in a group discussion about their observations. After the arts-n-crafts portion, Dr. John discussed how to activity related to communication between patients and providers.
Many sessions were provided over the four day conference. Among the Courier favorites was “Intro to Appalachia: Perception vs. Reality” led by Shane Barton from University of Kentucky. “I really enjoyed the session with [Shane] on Appalachian culture. When trying to prepare to be a Courier, I really struggled finding comprehensive information on the area that was free of stereotypes and bias. He was so knowledgeable and passionate which made me passionate about this specific community,” recalled Claire Gasparovich.
Another session led by FNU Student Nurse-Midwife Speaker Essence Williams was also well received by Couriers. Calla Michalak who said the following about the session: “I really enjoyed the session about Guatemalan Midwives. It was really interesting to learn about the women working so hard to make that aspect of their culture work with modern medicine and even more interesting to think about how that could be applied at all levels of care all over the world.”
Nearly every 2017 Courier intends to go into some form of healthcare. Brittany Imel said Diversity Impact affected her intended career goals because “it solidified the fact that I want to get a PHD in public health after serving as a PA for a few years. I want to be a part of the movement to get health care to all people in our country. It shouldn’t matter who you are, where you come from, or what you believe; everyone deserves access to quality health care.” Ronnie Sloan, who desires to be an urban planner, said she “learned that it is more than just building a nice looking city. It is about joining forces with people in the community to discover the demands of the population and meet them with the plans to transform the city.”
The ambassadors from Breckinridge Capital Advisors, Katie Sacharuk and Sarah Turpin, sat down with Courier staff to reflect on their Diversity Impact experience, as well. “My initial opinion going in was thinking that in healthcare they really just provide care. Here we learned that Advanced Nurse Practitioners and Midwives, they really play a role of social worker and patient advocate. They don’t just provide care. They provide support, and I didn’t know that,” said Katie. Sarah reflected on how coming to this conference exposed her to new ideas she had never experienced living in the northeastern United States her whole life. “It brought to light both the different issues that are happening within the United States and then also the wide range of people that are getting involved in the healthcare field and how they’re using their experiences to then solve it.” Both ambassadors remarked that every person they spoke with, including faculty members, took time to check back in with them throughout the weekend. Katie said, “as an outsider coming in, I think you can really tell is that everyone is so different… but the one thing you can really tell is that they all had the same goal. It is to kind of unite [and] help their own community at home. So, whatever they’re learning, they want to bring it back, and they want to implement it.”