A mentoring program in Northern Connecticut is working to get more African Americans interested in nursing.
Jessica Arter said there are a lot of reasons she'd like to see more African Americans become nurses. First, there are the state's demographics. "The population for African Americans is 11.2 percent. However, African American nurses only make up 3.5 percent," said Arter. "In addition to wanting to be a nurse and caring for people, we think they should match their counterparts as far as demographics."
Arter is a nurse from Hartford and a member of the Northern Connecticut Black Nurses Association. They're a collective of nurses working to decrease health disparities in the African American community. Sometimes that involves local partnerships.
"We have worked with My Sister's Place, for example, where we did a breast-cancer awareness event," Arter said. "Different community organizations -- sometimes we reach out to them, or they reach out to us with their needs -- and we develop a program that can sustain itself so we can do it for years to come."
As a practicing nurse, Arter also directs the group's mentoring and meeting program, which works to get students interested in nursing. Last month, they traveled to Philadelphia for a nursing conference designed to educate students and help them network. "It was great for them to see how much they can offer to nursing. And how much nursing can offer to them," said Arter.