Barriers to Being an Active Ally

by Angela Richard-Eaglin, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, CDE

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    00:06 So when we think about active allyship and actions, they're relevant to all human beings in all spaces.

    00:14 When we think about all human beings, when we think about that from the stance of health care providers, we want to think about the humanitarian Ethos that we should approach all human beings from a space of impartiality.

    00:28 And when we think about the humanitarian principles, which are service, mercy, compassion, empathy, and most importantly, for me, is respect for human life and dignity.

    00:41 The reason why I say that is because when we think about human life, it doesn't describe anything else.

    00:47 Any demographic characteristics, it talks about humans.

    00:52 So if we can see people and start from that space, and how we all like to feel and be treated as humans, then it's much easier to be an ally.

    01:01 One of the other big things that that I mentioned a little bit is organizational values.

    01:06 So especially in health care organizations, and I know in lots of corporate spaces, but in this context, with healthcare organizations, we all have these values and missions posted everywhere.

    01:19 And that kind of sets the tone for what the culture should be.

    01:22 Well, oftentimes, there's a misalignment between what we say is important and the words.

    01:28 And so the words don't often translate to actions.

    01:31 So we don't see that happening.

    01:33 We read those words on the wall but if we're sitting in a room as a patient, or if we're sitting in a space as an employee, and we're being treated in a way that's opposite, or not in alignment with what the value say, then we don't believe it.

    01:48 So we may leave again.

    01:49 So that's another way like I said that it kind of impacts the whole organization, not just one person, but everybody.

    01:57 So an example of how we can do that, support it, we talk about that we promote diverse, inclusive and supportive cultures.

    02:06 We need to promote that through our actions and not just the words.

    02:09 So if a patient comes in and says, they're discriminated against for whatever reason, oftentimes there's a process where there's an advocate that's assigned to do that and they come back and they align with or take the side of the providers, they don't hold the people within the healthcare organization accountable.

    02:29 That can't happen, because again, those patients experiences are real.

    02:34 And it shows that the commitment is not really true that those words are plastic, they are knit, they are for decorative purposes and not necessarily they are because we're truly committed to those values.

    02:46 So we also are familiar with the hierarchies that exist in a lot of organizations.

    02:52 So one of the ways to be a great ally is to use your position in the hierarchy to help to change the culture.

    02:59 And again, that starts with role modeling and consistency, and holding people accountable.

    03:05 Active allyship definitely supports optimal functioning for everybody.

    03:10 And in order to achieve equity, it's important to prioritize the needs of marginalized group members.

    03:17 And that could be true for patients, employees, peers, or colleagues but prioritizing the needs of marginalized people doesn't mean that we're forgetting about the needs of everybody else, it doesn't mean that everybody is not important.

    03:30 That's not true.

    03:31 Inclusivity means that everybody is important.

    03:34 But sometimes people who are marginalized start way behind the starting line, and we need to bring everybody up to an equal place.

    03:42 So that's the point of what equity is.

    03:45 Ideal ally ship, for those trades to happen, you need to listen to learn, we don't want to listen to defend, but we want to listen to learn from the people who have experiences there may be different than ours.

    03:58 And that requires a self awareness, number one, of your own biases.

    04:03 And then an open mind and a willingness to be uncomfortable.

    04:06 So what do I mean by that? Maybe you, you didn't experience it.

    04:11 So you can't really relate to it.

    04:13 But going back to the being a humanitarian and thinking about how we want people to feel like they belong in an environment.

    04:21 So that often takes self education, looking at historical perspectives in general, but then also recognizing and valuing individual experiences and validating those experiences as there's, whether you think they're true or not, or trivial, its the reality of the person who's experiencing it.

    04:40 And that takes a lot of effort.

    04:43 And it takes a lot of practice.

    04:45 And it definitely has to be a priority of everybody in the organization.

    04:49 And again, I'm gonna go back to the leaders role modeling and holding people accountable, offering support and support is whatever it looks like to the person who has experienced whatever the situation is.

    05:02 We want to promote equitable and not just equal opportunities, and what does that look like.

    05:08 So oftentimes, equity looks like something unfair is happening.

    05:13 But that's not the case, because people have different needs.

    05:16 And that gets back to the true definition of diversity, there will be certain characteristics of diversity that individuals experience that we don't know about.

    05:26 So when I think about disabilities, I may not be able to see that but the person who has the varying abilities, versus calling it disability because it may not prevent you from doing something when you think about dis, the word dis, or I'm sorry, the prefix of dis in abilities.

    05:45 When we think about diverse abilities of varying abilities, if we don't make a space comfortable through that active allyship, then someone might not share with you that they have something that may be seen by others as a disability.

    06:00 So again, that's going to further marginalize that person.

    06:03 But if I know about it, and I need to make some special provisions, for a specific person who may have was perceived as a disability or a disadvantage, as compared to some other people, then it might look like I'm being unfair, but I'm not because I'm giving people exactly what that individual needs to be successful in that organization or to reach optimal health, whatever that is to the person.

    06:29 Humane treatment is another one of those principles that we want to have as a best practice, we want to use our privilege, whatever that privilege is to raise people up.

    06:39 And I just gave an example of that when I said, meeting people's needs, their individual and unique needs.

    06:45 We want to make sure people feel heard and make people feel valued.

    06:49 So it goes beyond just offering a seat at the table or a space on a committee or whatever it is, it means that not only are you a part of this committee, but everything that you have to offer has value and will be considered.

    07:02 And we do want to do that equally and equitably.

    07:05 And setting the tone to promote the culture change.

    07:08 We have to be bold in terms of upholding the values and just letting people know that they have options.

    07:15 I get asked that question all the time.

    07:17 So if this organization has these specific values, and we're promoting a certain thing within the organization, and it doesn't align with someone's personal values and philosophy, then I always say, you want to let people know, remind them that they have options.

    07:33 And if they choose the option of staying within the organization, then these are the expectations and then these are the consequences if we don't uphold the values of the organization, with the end goal of promoting optimal health, not only for patients, but our employees.

    07:48 And we're talking about health beyond just physical health, we're talking about mental health.

    07:53 And we're talking about professional health and growth.

    07:56 And being empathetic.

    07:58 And we have to do this consistently.

    08:00 We might not always be able to put ourselves in someone else's shoes, but we want to make an effort too and thinking about how we want to be treated and how we want to feel in an environment.

    08:11 And not just in one situation, or for one person and not another.

    08:16 We want to make sure we're consistent across the board with everybody.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Barriers to Being an Active Ally by Angela Richard-Eaglin, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, CDE is from the course Allyship.

    Author of lecture Barriers to Being an Active Ally

     Angela Richard-Eaglin, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, CDE

    Angela Richard-Eaglin, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, CDE

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