This article describes an expanded leadership role needed in schools of nursing as the nurse of the 21st century is prepared to assume expanded roles in a diverse society. With schools of nursing becoming more global, and the diverse population of the United States rapidly growing, a critical need exists for nurses who are ready to partner in the health care that multicultural communities need locally, nationally, and globally. Diversity and cultural competence have now become central issues in nursing education, research, practice, and health policy. Diversity leadership in a school of nursing can no longer concentrate only on issues of affirmative action, recruitment, and retention. The purpose of this article is to discuss how diversity leadership must increasingly focus on building a corporate environment in schools of nursing that integrates diversity and cultural competence with the strategic plan of the School's Chief Nursing Officer, across academic programs, research, practice, and public policy to eliminate health disparities in partnership with faculty, students, staff, the University infrastructure, and the community at large. The theoretical framework that guided the strategic planning is based on the model used by the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellowship Program. Examples of program initiatives designed to implement the strategic plan to strengthen the diversity and cultural competence of one school of nursing environment are described.
- Cultural competence
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