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Monday, Apr 15, 2024

Fostering Belongingness in Nursing Schools

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has launched a new survey instrument to assist nurse educators in their work to create inclusive learning environments where all students have a strong sense of belonging and purpose. With funding provided by Johnson & Johnson, AACN adapted its˜Leading Across Multidimensional Perspectives (LAMP) Culture and Climate Survey˜to better assess the experiences of diverse nursing faculty, students, and staff while identifying practices that facilitate student and professional success.

“Creating academic settings where all feel welcomed and supported is critical to the well-being and success of nurses engaged in academic and practice settings,” said Dr. Deb-orah Trautman, AACN president and chief executive ofÿcer. “AACN applauds Johnson & Johnson for supporting this critical work and the 51 nursing schools nationwide for their commitment to piloting our environmental assessment tool and for adding to our understanding about belongingness in nursing.” As used in other disciplines, culture, and climate surveys help academic administrators understand the experiences of students, faculty, and staff as well as mechanisms essential to facilitating student recruitment, retention, and persistence. AACN developed LAMP˜to identify and assess the unique environmental and programmatic characteristics of schools of nursing that facilitate engagement and success.

First piloted in 2019, AACN secured support from Johnson & Johnson to complete a national pilot study of the latest iteration of LAMP˜in 2023 with 51 nursing schools nationwide. This project, titled Building a Culture of Belonging in Academic Nursing, centered on scaling up the use of LAMP˜to better assess the experiences of nursing students, faculty, and staff while identifying policies and practices that facilitate a sense of belonging. With assessment data collected from each constituent group, the survey supplied educators with the information needed to initiate change, target areas of growth, and improve student outcomes. AACN staff provided technical assistance to the pilot schools as well as ÿnal reports for each institution. Key ÿndings from the national report containing cumulative ÿndings for the 2023 pilot survey include the following:

• In terms of belongingness, differences were found across the three surveyed groups: faculty, staff, and students. Though 76% of faculty and 80% of staff feel connected with the campus community, just over 60% of students report feeling a strong sense of belonging.

• Over 50% of students agree that students of all races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and with disabilities are treated fairly. Greater than 75% of faculty and 55% of staff also agree.

• 32% of white students and 46% of African American and Asian students believe that subtle discrimination and microaggressions may exist in the structure of their programs. Among faculty, 55% of white faculty, 69% of African American faculty, and 61% of Asian faculty also agree.

• 81% of white students and 69% of African American students believe that the curriculum appropriately addresses racial and ethnic diversity. Among faculty, 55% of white faculty, 68% of African American faculty, and 61% of Asian faculty agreed.

• A strong majority across all surveyed groups (74% and higher) agree that a diverse student body enhances the educational experience of all students.

These findings are based on a total of 9,049 survey responses received from 5,936 students, 2,283 faculty, and 830 staff from schools of nursing offering baccalaureate and/or higher degrees. AACN is preparing a more in-depth analysis of the pilot survey findings, which will be published in the Journal of Professional Nursing later this year.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing representing more than 865 schools of nursing nationwide. AACN establishes quality standards for nursing education, influences the nursing profession to improve health care, and promotes public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. Learn more at aacnnursing.org.

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