Nursing Outlook Call for Papers: Decolonizing Academic Nursing as a Route to Reducing Health Inequities

Guest Editors: Lucy Mkandawire-Valhmu, PhD, RN, FAAN, University of Minnesota, Jennifer Woo, PhD, RN, CNM/WHNP, FACNM, Texas Woman’s University; Miriam Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN, University of California-Irvine and Peggy Chinn, PhD, RN, DSc (Hon), FAAN, Professor Emerita, University of Connecticut

The nursing profession is considered one of the most trusted professions, yet it is not exempt from systemic racism that leads to exclusionary practices and maintains Whiteness within the profession that ultimately impacts health outcomes for non-White communities. Like most Western institutions, academic nursing is informed by and centered in Whiteness, which values individualism, independence and competition and marginalizes the collectivistic and collaborative nature of most cultures of the Global South. This has important implications for the success of students and faculty who identify as Black, Indigenous and people of color. A destructive cycle is created when faculty are unable to succeed in academic environments, leaving students without role models and mentors with whom they can identify, and potentially resulting in a nursing workforce that does not reflect the communities we serve; this ultimately erodes the trust of patients and families and endangers health outcomes for marginalized groups.

As we endeavor to address health disparities for communities experiencing the greatest marginalization, we need to address the very foundations of the academic experiences for nurses, decolonizing the academic nursing space to ensure the success of all students and faculty. To that end, Nursing Outlook announces a call for papers focused on decolonizing
academic nursing. We are soliciting innovative and visionary articles that stimulate our imaginations to think beyond accepted norms in the academic sector to address disparities in nursing education and inequities in health outcomes. We are interested in innovative and visionary discourse in a range of areas, including:

  • Conceptual and empirical analyses of racism in nursing
  • Conceptual and empirical analyses of Whiteness in nursing academics
  • Ways to decolonize nursing curricula to enhance student success
  • Ideas to enhance collaboration and collectivism in nursing academia to enhance faculty and student success
  • Approaches to address racism in nursing academia and in academic spaces more broadly
  • Ways to successfully mentor and support BIPOC faculty

Manuscripts should be submitted no later than October 1, 2023. Authors should follow the Guide for Authors and submit papers at Send questions to Lucy Mkandawire-Valhmu at or Miriam Bender at

2 thoughts on “Nursing Outlook Call for Papers: Decolonizing Academic Nursing as a Route to Reducing Health Inequities

  1. From: “Diversity in the Nursing Workforce & Student Population

    According to a Brookings Institution analysis of 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data, more than 40% of the U.S. population now identify as people of color. With projections pointing to minority populations becoming the majority by 2045, professional nurses must demonstrate a sensitivity to and understanding of a variety of cultures to provide high quality care across settings.

    According to a 2020 survey conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and The Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers, nurses from minority backgrounds represent 19.4% of the registered nurse (RN) workforce. Considering racial backgrounds, the RN population is comprised of 80.6% White/Caucasian; 6.7% African American; 7.2% Asian; 0.5% American Indian/Alaskan Native; 0.4 Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander; 2.1% two or more races; and 2.5% other nurses. In addition, 5.6% of the RN workforce report their ethnicity as Hispanic.

    The NCSBN survey also found that men now account for 9.4% of the RN workforce, which represents a 0.3% increase since 2017, When looking at specific nursing roles, the highest representation by men was in nurse anesthetist positions (41%).

    According to the 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses conducted by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, RNs from minority backgrounds are more likely than their white counterparts to pursue baccalaureate and higher degrees in nursing. Data show that while 48.4% of white nurses complete nursing degrees beyond the associate degree level, the number is significantly higher or equivalent for minority nurses, including African American (52.5%), Hispanic (51.5%), and Asian (75.6%) nurses. RNs from minority backgrounds clearly recognize the need to pursue higher levels of nursing education beyond the entry-level.

    According to AACN’s report on 2021-2022 Enrollment and Graduations in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing, nursing students from minority backgrounds represented 40.8% of students in entry-level baccalaureate programs, 38.9% of master’s students, 35.5% of students in research-focused doctoral programs, and 38.9% of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students. In terms of gender breakdown, men comprised 12.6% of students in baccalaureate programs, 11.7% of master’s students, 11.2% of research-focused doctoral students, and 14.1% of DNP students. Though nursing schools have made strides in recruiting and graduating nurses that reflect the patient population, more must be done before equal representation is realized.

    The need to attract diverse nursing students is paralleled by the need to recruit more faculty from minority populations. Few nurses from racial/ethnic minority groups with advanced nursing degrees pursue faculty careers. According to 2021 data from AACN’s annual survey, only 19.2% of full-time nursing school faculty come from minority backgrounds, and only 7.4% are male.”

    and from the US census

    “Race and Hispanic Origin
    White alone, percent 75.5%
    Black or African American alone, percent(a) 13.6%
    American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent(a) 1.3%
    Asian alone, percent(a) 6.3%
    Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent(a) 0.3%
    Two or More Races, percent 3.0%
    Hispanic or Latino, percent(b) 19.1%
    White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent 58.9%”

    So, the most under-represented population group in nursing is male nurses. Among faculty, males are far more under-represented than any other group.

    A serious effort to “de-colonize” nursing would not ignore the continuing disparate gender balance which is far more likely to impact the recognition of, and addressing health disparities in the general population where males account for 49.6% of the population while representing a far smaller portion of the nursing workforce and nurses employed in academic settings.

  2. Thank you for this important discussion. I am not qualified to submit or I would. In my work I like to stress that humanity as the core content of nursing means all persons, their communities, cultural and physical environments.

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