The Pandemic Of Systemic Racism

My Nurse Colleagues,

Heather and Peter here.

We’ll admit that we’re usually ones to keep our heads down and focus on “doing the work.”

For us, the work is driving forward the mission of Nurse Coaching – empowering people everywhere to take ownership of their wellbeing, and elevating the health of our entire planet.

It’s work that we’re honored to do.

And along with that mission comes advocacy.

You see, when COVID hit, nurses stepped up to work the front lines, speak loudly about community health, and be a voice for our most vulnerable populations.

Yet against the backdrop of a worldwide pandemic, every single one of us has been forced to confront the reality of a far more insidious, chronic pandemic:

A pandemic of systemic racism that has been causing untold amounts of pain and suffering for black Americans.

As individual nurses, and as a profession, we’re trained to practice non-judgment.

To care for every single person – no matter who they are, what they look like, or what they believe – with an equal level of compassion and professionalism.

That is a core component of our practice because it’s the right thing to do, and provides every single patient an equal chance for healing.

We nurses are lifelong learners because we understand how our work – our life – is an ever-evolving practice.

We keep learning so we can be better.

We educate others so they can be better.

But if Heather and I have learned anything over the past few weeks, it’s this:

Personally, we’ve recognized, that we don’t know $#^t about S#^t.

So, what do we do?

Well, our Nurse Coach brains tell us to listen.

To listen to black Americans as they tell their stories.

To learn about the injustices experienced throughout history and in their daily lives.

To learn of the fear that they face just for leaving the house.

As we listen, Heather and I are confronting the privilege we’ve experienced our whole lives just because of the color of our skin.

As we listen, we’re choosing to take a hard look at ourselves and the way we interact with our beliefs.

As we listen, we’re becoming aware of how the subtleties in our thinking and behavior can directly, or indirectly, contribute to the problems that black Americans face every single day.

As we listen, we’re learning why silence is complacency.

In Nurse Coaching, holding silence can be one of our most powerful tools.

But now is not the time for that.

You see, we don’t need thoughts and prayers.

We need action, accountability, and healing of wounds that are generations deep.

So as we prepare to get back to “doing the work,” we do so with a renewed sense of urgency and purpose.

Because just like the preventable, chronic diseases that we Nurse Coaches are seeking to purge from society, racism is a chronic disease that has ravaged our nation for far too long.

As nurses, we believe that we are all being called to listen to black Americans, to learn how to be of service, and to take action.

We’re called to eradicate complacency and address the root causes of systemic racism.

We’re called to be a force for healing.

Stay safe, my friends. Stay peaceful. Let love fill your heart.

But please, don’t stay silent.

Whether it’s podcasts, books, movies, or getting out there and talking to the people of color you know –  education is a crucial part of this process.

Listen to the voices of those around you. Ask questions and lead with love and curiosity.

Remember that we are all products of our upbringings and what we’ve been taught.

When we lead with kindness – we can share stories to help others learn and grow. When we listen deeply, we can expand beyond our existing beliefs.

Whether you are speaking up in your community, on your social platforms, or donating to a cause – we all have the power to be advocates for change.

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