Ep 144: Cultural Humility in the Nurse Anesthesia Profession

The issue of diversity isn’t one that’s limited to certain areas of the country or specific professions. It’s a problem that people everywhere are trying to solve, including the CRNA profession. We want to explore the topic and try to get a better understanding of the barriers and challenges for minorities entering this field so we asked Richard Flowers, CHSE, CRNA, DNP, to join the show to provide us with his insight and experience in this area.

Click the timestamps below to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

On This Episode:

One conversation that has really moved to the forefront nationally over the past decade is diversity and equality. People and professions are working diligently to try and improve the structure and processes to allow for better access for everyone.

That’s true of the nurse anesthesia profession as well. If you look at the demographics of our workforce, it doesn’t represent the makeup of our country. There’s clearly a diversity problem and many leaders are making strides to change that. One of those people is Richard Flowers, CHSE, CRNA, DNP, who is part of the faculty at Wake Forest and our guest on today’s episode.

Flowers has practiced in every type of environment over the course of his career so he possesses a strong understanding of where the issues lie. Plus, he lived in New Mexico for many years, and that melting pot of different cultures really opened his eyes. So much so that he carried that interest and passion with him to North Carolina and now uses it to educate people about cultural humility.

We’re grateful for his time on the show today and hope this conversation can help us continue to move the CRNA profession in the right direction.

As you get started on the episode, keep an ear out for these topics:

  • Where his interest in this topic came from.
  • The diversity problem that we have in the CRNA profession and why it matters.
  • How diversity has shifted through the years.
  • The disparity in pay within the industry.
  • What barriers are in place that are preventing more diversity?
  • The difference between cultural humility and cultural competence
  • Details on the programs he’s help put together at Wake Forest
  • Is there more or less empathy since the pandemic started?
  • What can CRNAs do to help improve diversity in the profession?
  • Why does Richie teach this subject?

Check it out the interview at the top of the page and use the timestamps to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

4:24 – Excited for our guest today

7:27 – Background on Richie

10:06 – Why is this topic important

13:18 – Where does the problem start?

18:17 – Bringing awareness and context to the problem

20:19 – Barriers to diversity

25:05 – Cultural humility vs Cultural competence

26:58 – Programs at Wake Forest

36:04 – Millennials’ view of race

39:17 – Takeaway for CRNA listeners

44:32 – Why are you teaching this?

53:05 – Lightning round

 


“If I were to launch this on Facebook today and just go out and say we have a diversity problem in anesthesia, immediately there would be comments that say, “We shouldn’t lower the bar.” That is the most arrogant, demeaning thing to say, that you would need to lower the bar. I will just say that now, we don’t need to lower the bar. There are plenty of qualified, very smart minority students out there – nurses, high school students – it’s just convincing them that we’re the path.”

Richard Flowers, CHSE, CRNA, DNP

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