On February 5, 2010, Morine Cebert, Sabianca Delva, Sania Beckford and I attended the New England Regional Black Nurses Association “2010 Excellence in Nursing Celebration” Awards Ceremony. The history of the New England Nurses Association Inc. begins with that of the National Black Nurses Association. Dr. E. Lorraine Baugh, a founding member of the National Black Nurses Association, returned to Boston following a 1972 symposium in Detroit and organized what is now known as NERBNA on January 9, 1973 along with Judith Harris, Gwendolyn Coffie, Jo-Anna Rorie, and Harold Vaughn. The primary goals of NERBNA include: unity, counseling for others wishing to enter the nursing profession, education of ourselves and others regarding nursing and the health care of the Black community, sensitivity in seeking out our identity and finding strength in our community, and protection of fellow members and Black Nurses in the community.
Throughout the global community, African American nurses are making phenomenal contributions in science through research, practice, and advocacy. As a Black nursing student at Boston College, I found the celebration of Black Nurses who exemplify excellence in their practice inspiring. The keynote speaker of the night was Boston College’s very own Dr. Angela Amar. In addition, we heard speeches from President Margaret H. Brown, Founder Dr. E Lorrain Baugh, Patricia Beckles, and all the award recipients. Many of the speeches highlighted the importance of diversity in the nursing profession along with other topics such as health disparities and culturally competent care. It was extremely motivational to see the recipients accept their awards. Their stories of hardship, momentary defeat, and setbacks illustrated just how much they have persevered in their careers. This event reminded me how important it is for me to succeed as a Black nurse and set high goals for myself just as these nurses have.