The Power of Empathy

Posted Mon, 11/22/2021 - 16:34

“If it wasn’t for USF’s support, I would not be doing this,” shared Dawn Carroll, an EL-DNP student who has been selected for the 2021 ACNL Recruitment/Retention/Outreach Annual Award! 

Dawn has a fabulous professional trajectory she has carefully crafted from the ground up. Dawn is a New York State born, raised by bi-racial parents who instilled in her the value of being seen and recognized for who you are, your knowledge, and your beliefs. She knew early on that nursing was in her heart, mind, and soul. Throughout the years, Dawn has worked in the open heart unit, a stroke center, a traveling nurse, nurse practitioner caring for pregnant teens, leading education programs, as well as in a trauma center, and then one day she decided to use all of her knowledge and experience in an administrative position to expand her impact and make a difference in other health professionals and systems.

Dawn approaches her staff every day with new eyes and ears. “Staff needs to know you have been and can be in their shoes, you can relate to them, you understand them, and will work together to find solutions. It is a simple but powerful approach. When you have been exposed to different cultures you are relatable to staff and patients. You have that open mind, heart, and soul to listen, to care, and to address any challenges.” For Dawn and her teams, this has been the secret to getting recognized as the best nursing team in 2013, and now this meaningful 2021 ACNL Recruitment/Retention/Outreach Annual Award!

“We start our days checking in like other units but I have added time for laughter. We have the best clothing, smile, walk, and are collaborative with the doctors. Each year there is a team celebration and we give out awards such as putting orders on time to one lucky doctor. A simple tool but it reinforces great behaviors!” said Dawn when sharing about her work environment and how she is able to attract and retain a diverse group of nurses.

Dawn also spoke of the recruitment myth of finding qualified diverse candidates. Dawn’s DNP project is addressing how to change the makeup of nursing including access and reviewing data, developing a committee on outreach and retention as part of the strategic plan, hiring practice survey and training, and she looks forward to working with the newly hired DEI Chief Officer. She has made sure her voice is heard, really heard not shut down or quickly ignored.

Dawn is excited and looking forward to finishing her DNP, celebrating her accomplishments, and regaining the energy to continue the DEI work, one challenge, one policy, one team, and one community at a time.

“I wouldn’t have this opportunity if USF did not embrace and help me learn and grow to lead change. I felt like it was a huge risk and the faculty believed and supported me. I am ready to Change The World From Here” said Dawn as we ended the conversation.

Congratulations to Dawn for the 2021 ACNL Recruitment/Retention/Outreach Annual Award and recognition!