Maternal-Child Health Advocate and Expert, Professional Speaker/Presenter, Entrepreneur, Consultant. Even as a young child, Dr. Daihnia Dunkley aspired to be a nurse, spurred by her mother’s career in the profession. In this NFM Salute Frontline Edition, we explore Dr. Dunkley’s journey from Jamaican immigrant to nurse advocate. She inspires current and future black nurses to improve their representation in leadership positions and works for equitable and quality healthcare for people of color.

Full Transcript is Below:

– Welcome to an NFM Salute Frontline Edition. I’m your host, Greg Sher. Joining us from Freeport, New York is Dr. Daihnia Dunkley. She’s a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, a master’s degree and a PhD. Quite accomplished. Dr. Dunkley, thank you for being with us on NFM TV.

– Thank you so much for having me, my pleasure.

– It’s our pleasure. You’re a maternal child health advocate expert, a professional speaker, a presenter an entrepreneur, a consultant. Where do we begin? You’ve been a nurse now for 16 years. Talk to us about your experience in nursing.

– Well, I actually started off straight out of high school. I was able to gain my first amount of nursing experience as an LPN at the suggestion from my beloved mom who was also a nurse, and serves a source of inspiration for me. And I ended up loving it and went straight into my bachelor’s program to become an RN. So it’s a total of 20 years now I’ve been in nursing.

– You moved to New York at the young age of seven years old from Jamaica. What do you remember about that experience? And did you know at that time you wanted to be in health care?

– I think at a very young age, healthcare always kinda intrigued me. As a little girl, I wanted to be an OB-GYN and help deliver babies. But as I started to grow older and my mom became a nurse herself, she served as a source of inspiration for me to move into that field. And I really fell in love with the direct aspect of patient care and that special rapport that nurses have with their patients.

– So the journey from nursing to advocate, I want to hear all about that. You’re the founder of the League of Extraordinary Black Nurses. Why did you start it and what does it do?

– So the League of Extraordinary Black Nurses is my brain child and how it started was while I was doing my PhD research which was centered around the experiences of being black and female while becoming a nurse executive. That’s a very rare occurrence. And I was on that pathway. You know, I had been in nursing leadership for some time and saw myself eventually becoming one of these women in the C-suite within health care. I was disappointed to learn that there was really no support and guidance. And I wanted to create a space for black nurses who were new and aspiring nurse leaders that could provide a source of support, educational workshops, mentoring. We have about 25 nurses enrolled in our nurtureship program which is a mentoring program for our members. And that’s going really well. This year, we’ve actually launched the LEBN leadership Institute which is a series of monthly workshops that we’re gonna be offering to nurses from the bedside. I call it from the bedside to the boardroom. So it’s something for everyone to offer some education and potentially some continuing education hours as well.

– So, is the idea to get more minorities into nursing or more minorities into C-suite positions?

– I think, it’s a bit of both. We’re trying to fix that pipeline, right? So we wanna attract more minorities into the profession and then encourage those who are at the bedside to pursue leadership roles as well.

– Another endeavor of yours, Daihnia’s Joy, LLC. What is this all about? As if you’re not up to enough already.

– So what Daihnia’s Joy focuses on are three areas: increasing diversity in the nursing profession, developing current and aspiring nurse leaders. And also because my background in nursing is in maternal child health, helping to advocate to improve issues with maternal health disparities.

– And I understand you also have a podcast.

– Yes, so “Conversations with Dr. D”, also birthed within the pandemic in 2020. Just wanted to have a resource for new moms, expectant moms, who may have been scared about, you know. What does this mean for my pregnancy and my childbirth experience? And it kind of just bloomed from there. I added on more episodes with different experts in maternal child health and looking forward to doing some more.

– We’ve talked a lot about the experience of being a minority, being a nurse, helping mothers give birth but let’s look at the other side right now, in terms of the great comfort you get bringing joy and newborns into the world.

– Sure, it’s definitely taught me a level of compassion that I already knew that I had, but it just kind of emphasized it. What I would say to new and expectant moms is, you know, pregnancy and childbirth is suppose to be a joyous time, right. So, you know, in spite of everything that’s going on right now with the pandemic, you know, enjoy your pregnancy, trust your body. You can do this.

– Dr. Daihnia Dunkley. Thank you for being our NFM Salute Frontline Edition. We really appreciate the time you spent with us today.

– Thank you for having me.

– It’s our pleasure. I’m Greg Sher from NFM TV. We’ll see you next time.