NEW YORK NURSE: March 2008
In today’s workplaces, particularly healthcare facilities and colleges, there is a focus on honoring and celebrating diversity.
But conversations about diversity are usually no more than conversations about race, according to J.W. Wiley, director of the Center for Diversity, Pluralism, and Interdisciplinary Studies and professor at SUNY Plattsburgh. That’s a problem, says Wiley, because “there are so many other pieces to our reality. Focusing on race situates people to engage others in a limited, one-dimensional way.”
When he educates people about diversity, Wiley stresses how a spectrum of societal differences — including physical ability, race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and class —are the real forces shaping our attitudes. Examining diversity, then, means looking deeply into our own privately held opinions about all of these categories.
A three-day workshop this June will bring Wiley’s powerful “Examining Diversity” program directly to RNs. “This is an ideal match for nurses,” he said. “Nurses engage people’s physical abilities so much, and of course, there is the gender dynamic to explore.”
The experience of opening up to change can be intense and enlightening in a very positive way, but also has the potential to feel a little unsettling. “There can be moments of angst,” Wiley admits, “but no one is forced into contributing more than they want to.” The program is delivered as a group conversation, with plenty of visual interest from the film clips that Wiley uses in his “Examining Diversity Through Film” college course. And the Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs provides a beautiful and relaxing setting in which to do this challenging, but ultimately very valuable, work.
Examining diversity: An intellectual adventure
June 16-18, 2008
Gideon Putnam Resort
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
For more information, contact Education, Practice, and Research at 800-724-6976, ext. 278. To register, go to www.nysna.org or call Meeting and Convention Planning at 800-724-6976, ext. 277.