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Denice Calub (CSON ’14), Cindy Cao (CSON ’14), Yesenia Japa (CSON ’14) and Andrea Lopez (CSON ’14) of the CSON Keys to Inclusive Leadership in Nursing (KILN) program were among the fifteen nursing students from across the United States to be awarded a Hausman Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital in the summer of 2013. This six-week program paired the fellows with nurse mentors who provide clinical, practical and social experiences.  The Hausman Fellowship, originally funded by Margaretta Hausman, a social worker and former MGH patient, was founded in 2007 to empower minority nursing students to achieve their career goals and promote better care for diverse patient populations.

The experience was transformative for the students. For Denice Calub, the Hausman fellowship experience provided insight into the particular challenges of patients from minority backgrounds, especially when English is not their first language. “I was able to experience firsthand the importance of things that are emphasized in our classes, such as understanding diversity and practicing with empathy.”  Gaining confidence with skills and establishing relationships with mentors were goals for Cindy Cao, but she found that she achieved much more; “I learned that nursing can be a very personalized art and I gained awareness into the type of nurse I want to be.”  Yesenia Japa appreciated the opportunity to rotate though several departments, which familiarized her with the hospital as a whole: “I grasped a better understanding of what it means to be a nurse and became more comfortable in my assessments, documentation and medication administration…the experience strengthened my belief that this is what I want to do every day.” Andrea Lopez noted that, in addition to helping students gain confidence and independence, the professionals involved in the Hausman program “understand the reality and struggle of minority nursing students…the program helped me to think outside of my own familiar cultural experience to appreciate the diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds of our patients.”

The Hausman program is spearheaded by Deborah Washington (MS ‘93, PhD ‘12 ), Director of Diversity for Patient Care Services at Massachusetts General Hospital and member of the CSON Diversity Advisory Board.