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Nursing Award Winner: LaDonia Patterson, EdD, MSN, RN, CNE

On May 12, 2022

LaDona Patterson

Recipient of the Health eCareers Nursing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award

Mercer University

Georgia Baptist College of Nursing

Congratulations to Dr. LaDonia Patterson, winner of the Health eCareers Nursing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award. This award is given to a nurse whose contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion are significant. Nominations must demonstrate the nominee’s advocacy of DEI in their organization or in the nursing profession overall. Each year, this prestigious award will honor one outstanding nurse who has a demonstrated commitment to DEI with a monetary reward of $1,000.

Dr. Patterson’s coworker, Dr. Linda Mason Barber, wrote this incredible nomination highlighting Dr. Patterson’s bold commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in nursing:

“Consistent with the goals of the Health eCareers Nursing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award criteria of recognizing a nurse who has made significant contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion and who has demonstrated advocacy of DEI in their organization or in the profession overall, I respectfully submit this nomination for LaDonia Patterson, EdD, MSN, RN, CNE as the recipient of this award.

Dr. Patterson exemplifies the role of a mentor for others and an advocate of DEI in multiple ways. She is committed to cultivating inclusive and equitable environments in higher education while also supporting future health professionals in building their capacity to achieve health equity for the populations they will serve. As an African American nurse educator, she acts as a role model and mentor for nursing students from historically underrepresented groups. She consistently receives accolades from students and faculty who acknowledge her as a role model for nursing practice and a leader within higher and nursing education, particularly as it relates to DEI.

Given the role a diverse faculty plays in promoting success for nursing students from historically underrepresented groups, Dr. Patterson has been deeply engaged in efforts aimed at diversifying the pipeline to careers in nursing. For example, her program of research focuses on the experiences of Black men in nursing. Given the profound underrepresentation of Black men in the nursing workforce, nursing programs may struggle to recruit Black male faculty to serve as role models and mentors for Black male nursing students. As such, Dr. Patterson co-founded The High School to Higher Education Pipeline (H2H) Program (https://www.georgianursingleadershipcoalition.com/h2hprogram) to raise awareness of nursing as a career choice among young Black men, a program for which she received grant funding for development from the 2020 Nursing Innovations Fund and the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The program also aims to provide Black male nursing students with Black male mentors who are registered nurses to support them in remaining in the pipeline to attaining a career in nursing. As another example of her work with underrepresented groups in Nursing, Dr. Patterson played an instrumental role in chartering a chapter of the American Association for Men in Nursing for nurses in the metro Atlanta area. She has served as co-chair of the steering committee that started this initiative, is a founding member of the chapter, and serves as Chair of the membership committee for the organization.

Dr. Patterson maintains certification as a nurse educator through the National League for Nursing. In her role as a nurse educator, she has continually demonstrated her advocacy for students from historically underrepresented groups through her involvement with curriculum development and policy revisions that have contributed to fostering more inclusive learning spaces for these students. She is often the voice for students and faculty on each committee within the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing and Mercer University of which she is a member to ensure consideration is given to the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion whenever new policies and procedures are being considered or revisions in policies and procedures are being made. Through these efforts, she has been instrumental in helping others achieve more inclusive learning environments for students and faculty.

In the classroom, Dr. Patterson creates inclusive spaces by honoring students’ identities. She invites them to share all aspects of their identity and is intentional about learning about her students’ lived experiences and incorporates students’ unique identities and lived experiences to influence her teaching practices. She has been nominated by students several times for the Daisy Faculty Award, a national award that recognizes excellence in teaching and focuses on recognition of those who demonstrate excellence in nursing education for all.  In the past, Dr. Patterson served as the Resident Scholar for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of West Georgia where she was involved in developing and implementing implicit bias training for university leaders and administrators and was involved with efforts focused on diversifying the faculty. She also led the effort to establish the first DEI committee in the University of West Georgia Tanner Health System School of Nursing. She currently serves as co-chair of the DEI committee in the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University where she is now a member of the faculty and is a member of the Mercer University Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council. She has presented nationally and regionally on implicit bias in healthcare and topics related to DEI and social justice. She has also published on these same topics. Finally, she has developed content for an online certificate program for healthcare workers, “Foundations of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Health Professionals,” which provides education on DEI concepts, health equity, and the social determinants of health.

In furthering her impact of advancing DEI within healthcare, Dr. Patterson has served in several leadership roles in the areas of clinical nursing practice and nursing education. She is a member of the Board of the Atlanta Black Nurses Association and co-chair of the Georgia Nursing Leadership Coalition, Diversity Action Committee. She continues to be a mentor for new faculty, demonstrating her deep commitment to developing other educators, particularly those from historically underrepresented groups. Her influence on nursing students and faculty is fostered through her dedication to ensuring a nursing workforce for the future that truly represents the diverse population being served.

Given her accomplishments and dedication to advancing DEI efforts within her organization and the nursing profession as a whole, I believe Dr. LaDonia Patterson is more than deserving of the Health eCareers Nursing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award and thank you for the opportunity to acknowledge her achievements.”

Health eCareers is pleased to present Dr. LaDonia Patterson with this award for her exemplary work. Thank you for all that you do in the profession of nursing.

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