Leaders that have shaped the nursing profession over the years have demonstrated a tremendous capacity for growth and development and have had a profound impact on the progression and expansion of the field. In addition, nurse leaders have also provided inspiration and guidance to those considering a career in nursing through their commitment and example. In today's society, a nursing shortage requires that nurse leaders and managers must make sacrifices and develop new methods to manage staffing problems, quality of care issues, and ethical foundations for nursing care. Furthermore, nurse leaders must assure that their staff members receive continuous education and training opportunities to expand their knowledge base in order to provide the best possible patient care. Nurse leaders are often considered one of the key factors in the retention of younger nurses in the field, and their influence expands beyond the nursing unit.
In a historical context, nurse leaders have provided the profession with a countless number of accomplishments and developments. However, the integration of nurses of different races and cultures was not accepted in the vastly segregated times of the early twentieth century. During this period, nursing was a profession which primarily targeted white females and largely ignored African-Americans and other cultures. However, one person that changed much of the stigma surrounding the diversity of nursing was Mabel Keaton Staupers. Ms. Staupers was instrumental in the early integration of African-Americans into the nursing profession in the early 1900s. Her influence and impact on shifting the priorities of prejudice and discrimination to the recognition of the importance of a diverse nursing workforce has resulted in garnering the respect and admiration of African-American nurses and nursing practice into the 21st Century. Ms. Staupers' dedication and commitment will be discussed throughout the remainder of this paper.
Review of Literature
Mabel Keaton Staupers was born on February 27, 1890 is Barbados, West Indies and emigrated to the United States at age thirteen. In 1917, Ms. Staupers graduated with honors from Freedmen's Hospital School of Nursing in Washington, DC and gained employment as a private duty nurse. Between the years of 1922 through 1934, she gained valuable experience as a surveyor of health needs and an executive secretary for the Harlem Tuberculosis Committee of New York (www.nursingworld.org).During the early stages of her career, Ms. Staupers confronted extreme prejudice as a result of her status as a black American. According to www.nursingworld.org,"In the profession of nursing, training schools were largely segregated and major organizations, including the American Nurses Association and the National League of Nursing Education, denied membership to black nurses residing in selected states." Ms. Staupers was determined to change these conditions through her staunch efforts to gain equal rights for black nurses, garner attention to the problem, and gain improved access to quality health care for black Americans.
During her distinguished career, Mabel Keaton Staupers was recognized for her efforts as an activist and accepted a position as the first paid executive secretary of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN). During her tenure, she increased membership, established advisory committees, built coalitions with various groups, and removed barriers that once prevented black nurses from enlisting in the military (www.nursingworld.org).During World War II, Ms. Staupers garnered support from First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and began a national letter-writing campaign to recognize the need for black nurses in the military as full members, and in 1945, the Army and Navy accepted black nurses without restrictions (http://search.eb.com).Furthermore, as a result of her efforts in the NACGN, the American Nurses Association began to accept black nurses as full members in 1948. In 1954, the final barriers to equality were broken when the Supreme Court rejected the "separate but equal" doctrine in Brown vs. The Board of Education (Sussman 1).
Mabel Keaton Staupers' various efforts to integrate nurses of all races and cultures has changed the face of the nursing profession for the better. However, many stereotypes still exist regarding the ability of blacks to gain status and acceptance as professional nurses. According to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "16% of hospital employees are black, but blacks constitute only 8% of all registered nurses, while 33% are nurses aides, attendants, and orderlies" (Dreachslin, Hunt, and Sprainer 1404).
Other stereotypes are often encountered in patients that possess racist attitudes. In one extreme case, the Department of Health under the British National Health Service is drafting guidelines that will exclude treatment for racist patients (Daily…