An article presented by Aetna: 2003 African American History Calendar entitled “Black Nurses – A Historical Perspective,” by M. Elizabeth Carnegie, DPA, RN, FAAN, produced remarkable evidence of the impact and contributions of African Americans to the nursing profession from approximately 1783 until present day. Black students considering a career in nursing can draw inspiration from the struggles, successes, educational achievements and advances made by Black nurses in our country.
Black women have nursed our nation during slavery, war and peace.
While nurturing their own families and fellow slaves, they cared for the sick and breast-fed white babies within the families that owned them. Though the term “nurse” was not used, their activities were clearly within the scope of nursing.
According to Carnegie, “Formal education exclusively for Black nurses started in 1886 . at now Spelman College in Atlanta.”
Today, the severity of this needed sector continues to demand exceptional nursing professionals.
Therefore, much pressure has been applied to “historically black colleges and universities [to] continue to play a major role in training blacks for the nursing profession” by improving the standards of education given, in order to deliver phenomenal professionals.
These statements turned the focus away from nursing education as a whole and placed a magnifying glass on our very own School of Nursing, here at Grambling State University.
This university has drawn many, ranging from students to both staff and faculty. One notable addition to this list is Dr. Afua O. Arhin, the current associate dean of the School of Nursing.
Dr. Arhin prides herself as a descendant from Ghana, West Africa, who chose to pursue a career in nursing, giving back to the community and sharing her wealth of knowledge.
After becoming a registered nurse, she specialized in maternal child nursing, attaining her master’s degree from Wisconsin University at Madison in 1990 and a doctoral degree from the University of California in 2003.
Dr. Arhin has demonstrated an ardent desire for the wellness and betterment of overall womanhood and began by placing emphasis on the youth – trials which can be overcome.
Her dissertation: “The Effect of Parents’ Training on How Teenage Mothers Interact with Their Children” was a representation of her empathy toward the plight of teenage mothers and the development of their young.
Her findings propelled her to teach others how to nurture the bonds between the parent and the child, the teacher and the student and the nurse and the patient.
Moving throughout various avenues within the field of nursing, such as obstetrics, pediatrics, delivery, being a clinical nursing specialist, a patient educator as well as teaching at her alma maters, eventually led her to the doors of Grambling State University.
Dr. Arhin is a woman for and of change, one on the go; one who has realized the fact that the expectations of present day society, its approach to leadership, education and healthcare has transformed. Therefore, in order to meet the requirements of a diverse generation, the methods of instruction must undergo a complete metamorphosis so that it may remain successful, grow and embrace future challenges. Dr. Arhin has based her principles of teaching on a simple philosophy that states that if one is sincere to others then goodwill will be reciprocated and the result would be the foundation of a rewarding environment of which all can become a part of.
Thriving on the dream of the little four year old who admired the golden buttons on her aunt’s white military nurse’s uniform Dr. Arhin plans to encourage her students to excel in the same way that she has. By teaching students to believe in themselves and becoming passionate about this chosen career, she is optimistic that the standards of this nursing institution will be elevated in every respect.
Her studies have confirmed that one prospers only if one is truly contented with what one does. In her short stint at Grambling State University, she has outlined the unfortunate flaws in the School of Nursing’s teaching techniques.
She aspires to create an atmosphere that instructs how to reach out to others (a critical part of the nursing profession), to strengthen the educational goals of students, enlighten and stimulate students to participate in this era of research and publish and share pertinent discoveries. Along with the assistance of very dedicated and able faculty and staff, Dr. Arhin hopes to foster a learning haven where students will look forward to attend, be comfortable and have fun while realizing their dreams.