It was a collegial gathering last Friday of fellowship, inspiration and recognition when more than 200 nurses converged at Kingsbrook Medical Center for the 28th National Black Nurses Celebration.
“We do this every year and it’s a great way for us to recognize those in the community who contribute so much,” said former president of the Caribbean American Nurses Association(CANA) Claudette Powell.
Following greetings, a panel presented “Perspectives on Self-Care for Nurses.”
Leading off the presenters, Information Technology Specialist Angela Jourdain, MSN and doctoral student, nurse administrator at Northwell Health Long Island Jewish Hospital conveyed a strong message about social media — be attentive to what you’re putting out there and only put constructive posts of who are. “Don’t post what you did on your night on the town,” she cautioned. On social media you want to “reflect positively your professional image.” These things can come back to you and it is professionally important to be aware, she emphasized.
Financial Consultant Andrea Owen-Boyd spoke about savings and planning, and that it is never too late to begin.
Next to speak, Dr. Kamila Barnes (DNP) suggested to “keep your gym bag in your car so you go directly to the gym” understanding that once at home, it’s hard to get out.
Dr. Barnes spoke about the need to physically take care of yourself, which includes healthy food and keeping active. “If you can’t get to a gym, there are many workout programs on-line,” she encouraged, “or just turn on music and dance for 30 minutes!”
Nurse Educator Dr. Rita D. Strickland and certified healing touch practitioner added a spiritual dimension to the panel sharing her SELF-Care acrostic that emphasizes, God, a positive environment, living with love, and “embracing life with enthusiasm, excitement and enlightenment.”
Then the awards were presented.
Beatrice Goodman-Russell, community health worker supervisor for Maternal & Infant Community Health Collaborative was recognized as a mentor, motivator and an agent for change.
Educator Dr. Donna Cill (DNP) assistant dean for academic affairs & assistant professor at Columbia University, RN Care Manager, Emblem Health, preceptor and mentor Monique Prince, and Dr. Illouise Murillo-Tucker, senior associate director of nursing for Psychiatry at Woodhull Health Center were presented with awards for their stellar contributions to the profession.
Mildred Norman, Harlem Hospital Class of ’46 picked up the award for Dr. Yanick Joseph, who could not attend due to an emergency at Harlem Hospital where Dr. Joseph is chief nurse executive. Arlene Cudjoe, RN (not present) also received an award for her professional contributions.
The final recipient on the program Henry J. Carter received a Community Award for his steadfast concerns for patients with profound physical disabilities. Through Wheelchair Charities, “Hank” has donated more than $25 million to the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) for manual and motorized wheelchairs and other equipment and devices. HHC’s Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility in Harlem bears his name.
This annual Black nurses celebration was sponsored by New York (NYBNA) and Queens County (QCBNA) chapters of the Black Nurses Association; two chapters — Kappa Eta and Theta Chi — of the 84-year-old national sorority of professional nurses and nursing students Chi Eta Phi, as well as the 15-year-old Caribbean American Nurses Association (CANA).
Placards displayed around the ballroom provided historical information on Black women nursing pioneers — 20th century Black nurse leaders in New York. Two of the many who were profiled were: Estelle Massey Riddle Osborne, president from 1934–1939, National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses and first Black nurse to receive a Masters in Nursing — Columbia U, 1931 and NYU faculty member and Mabel Keaton Staupers, RN, who led a movement to integrate Black nurses into the Armed Services in World War II, who authored in 1961 “No Time for Prejudice.”