Publish Date: December 9, 2020
It has been 90 days since AORN announced its intention to develop a plan of action that would reflect the association’s long term commitment to building a diverse team, fostering an inclusive culture, and investing in equity across our association. Our intention is to incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) principles into our work with our members, facilities, industry partners, in our communities and for our patients.
“Our goal is to draw from people with a variety of backgrounds and life experiences to reach a new level of innovation in education, collaboration, and caring for patients. We are looking toward a future that ensures diversity is reflected in membership, culture and leadership,” said CEO/Executive Director Linda Groah, MSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, FAAN. “We want to contribute to a society of belonging where everyone feels valued, respected, and seen.”
Modifying the Mission, Vision and Values
A critical step for the board of directors and staff was an evaluation of the association’s mission, vision and values to determine whether they reflected AORN’s commitment to DEI. They did not.
“We saw the statements needed modification to better communicate the purpose, priorities and goals for our staff, members and allied professionals and DEI is central to these,” said David Wyatt, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNOR, president of AORN. “Our statements provide an important guide for the development of our annual strategic plans.”
There are six DEI committees comprised of staff volunteers and members of the Board of Directors. Their focus is: Headquarters’ Staff and Leaders, Membership, Patients, Community, the Board of Directors, and the AORN Foundation. With the Board’s approval of the Comprehensive Diversity Plan in July 2020, AORN has taken the following immediate actions:
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will be observed as a Company Holiday (2021)
- 6 DEI Teams formed to develop action plans | board members and 33 staff volunteers
- Race / ethnicity added to the AORN Membership Online Application
(currently 72% White; 28% Minority)
- Subscription to the Professional Diversity Network to increase diverse applicants to AORN Job Postings (16 diversity-focused recruitment sites)
- Willingness-to-Serve Form now includes race / ethnicity as a question for National Committee positions
- Subscribed to Professional Diversity Network to increase diverse applicants to AORN Job Postings
- Retained a DEI consultant to provide guidance for both short and long term initiatives
- Contracted with an agency specializing in DEI education for staff and the board of directors
In addition, the AORN Foundation will offer academic scholarships for Black and Latinos interested in pursuing a career in perioperative nursing, and Linda Groah signed a CEO pledge with B:Civic and organization which requires CEOs to “Listen, Learn and Lead” within a 6-month time period. With the approaching holidays, AORN headquarters created a food drive for 100 families in a middle school attended primarily by Latinos who are food insecure.
This is just a beginning of what will be ongoing commitment of the association. We welcome your input and support as we make progress on this important journey.