Texas nurse makes history as first Black woman inducted into Academy of Emergency Nurses

‘Patients have better outcomes when they are treated by healthcare partners that look like them’

Shawntay Harris, a nurse from Killeen, Texas, made history as the first Black woman inducted into the Academy of Emergency Nurses.

According to local station KXXV, Harris started her nursing career over 20 years ago with high hopes of helping people. She has worked as an emergency nurse for many years and even opened Eminent CPR — a facility where people can learn CPR — in 2006.

“It’s an AHA American Heart Association training center, I also offer courses from the Emergency Nurses Association, then my own courses,” Harris told the outlet.

The Academy of Emergency Nurses recognizes nurses who have made “enduring, substantial contributions to emergency nursing,” have helped advanced “the profession of emergency nursing, including the health care system in which emergency nursing is delivered,” and have provided “visionary leadership to ENA and AEN.”

“When I was approached as a potential candidate to be inducted, I was like ‘Oh am I worthy? Have I done enough? How do I feel?’” Harris recalled. “Then when I looked at the other academy members, I was like, ‘Oh, no, there’s no one else who looks like me,’ — I will be making history if inducted.”

“Perceptions of a shared identity between patients and their healthcare providers could be one way to improve the patient-provider relationship and foster trust and better communication,” argued a report published by the Urban Institute.

“It feels amazing to know that I’ve broken this ceiling so other nurses of color know they can, their work is great and exciting, has global impact, is sustainable, and they’ll see someone that looks like them,” she said.

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