Fostering Diversity Through Mentorship
The Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program has provided mentorship to a diverse group of nurses to successfully matriculate into 54 out of 114 nurse anesthesia programs, and students in Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions are benefitting from her guidance. With Gould’s encouragement students explore and better understand topics about workforce diversity, cultural competence and reduction of health disparities.
August 27, 2015
Wallena Gould, EdD, founded the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program – a national nonprofit organization – when she was a nurse anesthesia student at La Salle University. “Immediately, I noticed there was no minority faculty in the shared didactic portion of the program and a minority nurse anesthesia student failed out of one of the programs.”
For a project in one of her courses, Gould decided to examine the racial composition of nurse anesthetists in the country. The information the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists gave her further illustrated a lack of diversity. “I was surprised that only less than 10% as an aggregate were from underrepresented minority groups,” she said. Taking matters into her own hands, Gould mentored the next cohort of minority nurse anesthesia students to put them on a path for success.
Today, the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program has provided mentorship to a diverse group of nurses to successfully matriculate into 54 out of 114 nurse anesthesia programs, and students in Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions are benefitting from her guidance. With Gould’s encouragement students explore and better understand topics about workforce diversity, cultural competence and reduction of health disparities.
An incredible example is Nkam Mongwa, CRNA, class of 2013. Gould said of Mongwa’s growth, “I encourage students to value mentorship and to magnify their visibility in speaking about health disparities for others to appreciate. For instance, Nkam attended a Diversity CRNA Information Session & Airway Simulation Lab event when he was a Registered Nurse before he applied to Drexel University. Immediately after successfully matriculating into Drexel University’s Nurse Anesthesia Program, he assumed leadership roles and became our student for a Diversity CRNA event hosted by Drexel University. He later assumed a preceptor and faculty role at a nurse anesthesia program in Africa for over six months before he started work at a Level I Trauma Center in the Philadelphia region. Nkam and I were co-speakers on health disparities in the United States and Cameroon for the Cameroon Professional Society at Rice University (Houston, Texas).”
Oladeji Babalola, a Drexel mentee of Gould’s who graduated in May with an MSN in Nurse Anesthesia said, “Dr. Gould was instrumental in my development as a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist). She was always available to provide encouragement, insight and wisdom. The CRNA program is very rigorous and she provided support for me from my beginning stages as a novice nurse to now, as a CRNA. She also connected me with other CRNA's within the profession for further insight and advice when needed.” He also added that the most valuable lesson Gould instilled in him was: never forget, nor take lightly, the honor and responsibility of being a mentor to somebody else.
Gould echoes that sentiment and said that it is the most important thing she hopes students take away. “The most important takeaway for a Drexel University mentee is to always continue to honor relationship-building with nurses interested in graduate education in nurse anesthesia programs. And to build a strong foundation of trust to find ways to collaborate with stakeholders who are essential in the professional growth of an Advance Practice Nurse.”