I am excited to start my role as NPWH Board of Directors Chair (2022–2024) and to usher in a new chapter for NPWH as the first African American board chair in its 41-year history. This milestone in our organization’s history marks a unique opportunity to foster crucial conversations and actions toward inclusive and equitable women’s and gender-related healthcare for diverse populations.
During the pandemic, we have continued to engage in clinical practice, education, research/quality improvement, and policy to advance our profession but, more importantly, the communities of people we serve. As we embark on 2022, I encourage each of us to continue our contributions in these vital areas using a lens of equity. Equity matters within all facets of our work as women’s health nurse practitioners (WHNPs) and other advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who provide women’s and gender-related healthcare. For it is equity that increases opportunities for everyone to live the healthiest life possible, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they make.
WHNPs and other APRNs should strive to engage in clinical practice that threads equity in every aspect of the care provided to patients, families, and communities. From the moment a patient enters the clinical setting until their exit, equity should be at the center of what they experience. In their healthcare, every effort toward equity counts. Small steps are meaningful to address equity within the clinical practice setting, from changing artwork within the waiting area to addressing practice policies. It all makes a difference to the patients for whom we provide care. Our potential contributions should never be mistaken as meaningless, because they have the power to make a sustainable difference in patient outcomes in clinical practice.
We need to educate ourselves and our colleagues on how to best care for diverse populations with a lens of equity. I encourage each of us to share our knowledge and expertise with the next generation of women’s and gender-related healthcare providers, with equity at the core of what we teach. Academic curriculum for WHNP students and other APRN students who will provide this care must embed equity as a component throughout didactic, clinical, and simulated experiences. Additionally, continuing education offerings must utilize a lens of equity when presenting on knowledge and skills relevant for novice to seasoned advanced practice women and gender-related healthcare providers.
We must help facilitate research and quality improvement projects using a lens of equity to address gaps in the literature and areas requiring improvement within women’s and gender-related healthcare. Sustainable solutions need to be developed based on research and quality improvement findings with community involvement to support positive outcomes.
It is essential to advocate for our profession and patients on a local, state, and federal level. Our advocacy contributes to best practices for the diverse patient populations we serve. We must seek to amplify communities of voices that have been historically marginalized and unheard. We should use our expertise to educate legislators at all levels about policies that affect women and gender-related health outcomes and that ensure equity.
As we continue our efforts in clinical care, education, research/quality improvement, and policy using a lens of equity in 2022, I strongly encourage each one of us to take as much time as needed for self-care. It is self-care that refuels our minds, bodies, and souls so that our passions may be ignited and impact the communities we serve and beyond.
One word I hope we can focus on as a collective body in 2022 is equity. This one word will guide our mission, vision, and values to the next level as we continue to facilitate our strategic plan. Nothing is impossible with your support and contributions to the profession, communities of people we serve, and NPWH.
Shawana S. Moore, DNP, MSN, CRNP, WHNP-BC Chair, NPWH Board of Directors