June 4, 2020
Dear Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni, and Friends of the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden,
The Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden community condemns the violence against African Americans that most recently ended the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.
We are confronted by racism and discrimination in our clinical practice sites, our classrooms, our research settings, the policy realm, and our daily lives. We find ourselves witness to our colleagues and students who experience systemic institutionalized racism and discrimination.
Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the reality of structural discrimination built into our healthcare system, and how the virus has disproportionately affected communities of color locally and nationwide. It has become painfully obvious that these challenging events have become interconnected and warrant our utmost attention and action.
We cannot and will not be silent, or we would be guilty of complicity. We must be a beacon of strength for and healers for our communities, our patients and one another. Nurses must propel our country and communities forward towards greater equity, justice, and fairness. It is our moral imperative to become agents of change and champions for all people as healthcare is a basic human right. We must eliminate disparities rooted in racism and discrimination if we are to improve the health of our patients, communities and nation. It is time to unite and work together towards change for all.
Our collective responsibility reminds us that we can no longer afford to do things the way we always have. The Code of Ethics for Nursing requires that we must be advocates for all people regardless of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. At the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden, we will work vigorously to address racism, discrimination, and bias within our profession and health care.
As Dean, I urge all of you to join with me and our entire community to address systemic racism wherever it exists so that we may facilitate positive health outcomes and remove healthcare disparities. As a school, together, we can actively remove the racial disparities that drive many highly qualified individuals out of the profession and contribute to the lack of role models.
Moving forward, the Rutgers–Camden nursing school will create opportunities to have these very necessary conversations and develop plans of action. We hope you will participate and bring others into the conversation so we can confront these issues collectively and strategically.
Donna M. Nickitas, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNE, FNAP, FAAN
Dean and Professor