The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) announced that Frontier Nursing University (FNU) is one of 50 schools of nursing in the U.S. to have been selected to participate in a national initiative designed to foster inclusive learning environments and build a more diverse nursing workforce. Nearly 250 schools applied to participate in the initiative.
In January 2022, AACN commenced a project titled Building a Culture of Belonging in Academic Nursing with funding from Johnson & Johnson. AACN launched this initiative to help schools of nursing create environments where students, faculty, and staff possess a strong sense of belonging and are encouraged to thrive.
“Creating a learning culture where all individuals are able to develop and do their best work is critical to achieving academic nursing’s goals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Dr. Deborah Trautman, AACN President and Chief Executive Officer, said. “AACN is pleased to join with 50 member schools to pilot test a new tool that will help to evolve how nurse educators approach teaching, learning, and professional engagement.”
To support this project, AACN developed a digital platform to administer its Leading Across Multidimensional Perspectives (LAMP®) Culture and Climate Survey. This instrument collects data on student, faculty, and staff perceptions of their college classrooms as communities in five thematic areas: fair treatment and observations of discrimination, belongingness, value of diversity and inclusion, campus services, and clinical training.
Using data collected via LAMP, AACN will provide institution-level assessments and action reports to participating schools related to developing inclusive academic environments. This tool provides administrators with a better understanding of how their campus climate influences student experiences and achievement. With assessment data from internal stakeholders, educators are equipped with valuable information needed to initiate change, target areas of growth, and most importantly, improve student outcomes. AACN will also use aggregate data collected from participating schools to identify best practices and success strategies that can be deployed at institutions nationwide.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has been an intentional component of Frontier Nursing University’s goals, initiatives, and planning since 2010, when the university launched PRIDE (Promoting Recruitment and Retention to Increase Diversity in Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse Practitioner Education). Now known as the Diversity Impact Program, PRIDE was specifically intended to raise the level of diversity in student enrollment. In 2010, the enrollment of students of color was 9%. Today, that number has risen to over 27%, and FNU’s DEI efforts have expanded exponentially to include all members and aspects of the FNU community, including curriculum content and faculty and staff diversity, recruitment, and retention.
“We are honored to have been selected to participate in this important initiative,” FNU Interim Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Paula Alexander-Delpech, Ph.D., PMHNP-BC, APRN, said. “We hope that the assessment data collected from students, faculty, and staff will give us valuable information that will guide us to initiate changes, identify target areas for growth, and most importantly, help us to improve student outcomes.”
Schools selected to participate in this pilot study are geographically diverse and represent a range of institutional types (public and private institutions; small and large schools; rural and urban-serving programs, etc.) Having a broad range of participating schools is important to securing results that can be generalizable across all types of nursing schools.
Pilot testing of the LAMP survey will be completed in spring 2023. AACN will disseminate aggregate findings to all schools of nursing next year.