As a registered nurse, West Coast University-Texas student Paula S. wants to be part of a more diverse healthcare workforce.
“To lessen health inequities, especially in the Black population, the healthcare industry needs more African-American nurses,” she said. “We can better understand the health risk factors and daily stressors of Black Americans.”
One of Paula’s inspirations is Bernadine Lacey, an African-American nursing leader, educator and political advocate who openly discussed health disparities within the Black community.
This Black History Month, Paula said her goal is to become a similar leader and inspiration to others.
After having her first child soon after high school, Paula said many believed she would fail. But, with motivation from her aunt, fiancé, and late grandmother, she is on track to receive her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree this spring, all while now being a mother of three with two wonderful additional children, she said.
“You don’t have to live up to any label that someone has placed on you,” shared Paula. “I want to show our youth that there is something positive you can do with your life. You can reach for the stars and go far in life.”
Paula believes that it is important to understand that healthcare leaders can be of any race and background. And for Black History Month, she says we should celebrate by learning about the Black leaders who paved the way for others to travel.
“Research on a Black leader such as a nurse, doctor, scientist, and on and on, should be done every day during this month,” she said. “I want everyone to understand how lovely Black History Month is, and how much all Americans should truly enjoy it.”
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