Monday, January 29, 2018

Hispanic Nurses On Fire

I recently spent an incredibly inspiring and powerful weekend with 100 Latino nurse leaders who gathered in San Antonio, Texas for the inaugural National Association of Hispanic Nurses Leadership Institute. This spirited group of forward thinking nurses of all ages clearly demonstrates that unity, organizing, critical thinking, and planning for the future are part and parcel of enlightened 21st-century nurse leadership.

The National Association of Hispanic Nurses is the premier nursing organization focused on growing Latino nurse leaders and uniting the many cultures and people within the Hispanic nursing community throughout the United States.

Latino nurses come from families of varied origins, including but not limited to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Spain, and Cuba. Differences in outlook and customs are celebrated in this organization, and this united front is a powerful force to be reckoned with on multiple levels.

Speakers at this weekend event spoke from a variety of perspectives and backgrounds, from academia and research, to policy, activism, and the clinical space. These are some of the most influential thought leaders among the Hispanic nurse community -- truly among the overall nationwide nurse community -- and as the Hispanic population continues to grow in the decades to come, Latino nurse leaders will be essential to addressing the needs of this so-called ethnic "minority".

Over the course of the weekend, I presented a talk on the subject of personal branding for nurses and nurse leaders. I also had the significant privilege of delivering the closing keynote address, entitled "Enlightened Nurse Leadership for the 21st Century". My ideas were well-received, and I could readily see that this organization and its members are already prepared for the 21st century, thinking boldly and audaciously about their roles in the necessary transformation of our country and our world.

While racism, immigration, the specific health needs of Latino patients, and other salient issues of the day are top of mind for thoughtful Hispanic nurses, these nurses are also considering the problems faced by all nurses every day. Nurse-on-nurse bullying, staffing and nurse-patient ratios, evidence-based care, the quality of nursing education, and the potential for widespread nursing shortages are also important to the nurses of NAHN. Scholarship, policy, research, and academic excellence are seen as crucial, just as nurse self-care and the importance of kindness and compassion are all equally embraced.

The Hispanic nursing community is strong and growing, and emerging leaders are very clearly nurtured within the NAHN zeitgeist. I recommend keeping an eye on NAHN and its increasing impact on the worlds of nursing and healthcare. Non-Hispanic members are welcome, and this organization will only expand its influence and power to effect change in the years to come.

What I see in NAHN is a microcosm of the wider nursing community. I see a community and organization with a heart-centered leadership that sees the organization for what it is: a diverse group with a similar mission, much in common, and many opinions and points of view to consider. I also see an organization that recognizes its place in the wider conversation and the larger world of which it is an integral part.

NAHN is a forward-thinking nursing association that nurtures its leaders, embraces its own diversity, encourages cultural competence, and obviously walks its talk when it comes to seeing the larger picture and looking bravely into the future. Many of its members are nurse/citizen activists who are dedicated to a vision that they strive to bring to fruition, and it was refreshing and inspiring to be a witness to that vision.

It was a true honor to count myself as a member of the NAHN community this past weekend, and I look forward to supporting NAHN's continued work and advocacy on behalf of our profession and the health and well-being of Hispanic communities everywhere.


Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind and the well-known nursing blog, Digital Doorway. Please visit his online platforms and reach out for his support when you need it most.

Keith is co-host of, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses.

A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century and Aspire to be Inspired: Creating a Nursing Career That Matters. He has contributed chapters to a number of books related to the  nursing profession. Keith has written for,, MultiBriefs News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline, StaffGarden, AusMed, American Sentinel University, the ANA blog,, American Nurse Today, Working Nurse Magazine, and other online and print publications.

Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, keynote speaker, online nurse personality and social media influencer, podcaster, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known nurse entrepreneur. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives, and his adorable and intelligent cat, George.

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