Southeast Missouri State University student publication

National Black Nurses Association launches its first meeting for their organization

Monday, November 19, 2018
President of NBNA Eric Williams keynotes the launch of the NBNA chapter here at Southeast.
Photo by Jasmine Massey ~ Arrow Reporter

Southeast Missouri Nurses Association and Lambda Theta Chapter Sigma Theta Tau, Inc. hosted the launching of the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) chapter Friday, Nov. 9, at Crisp Hall of Nursing.

According to a pamphlet distributed by the organization, the NBNA mission is “to represent and provide a forum for black nurses to advocate and implement strategies to ensure access to the highest quality of healthcare for persons of color. “

Vera Campbell-Jones is a Southeast nursing instructor with a MSN, RN, RN-BC, and a member of NBNA and the advisor of the National Black Nurses Association of Southeast Missouri and used the meeting as an opportunity to recruit members.

She has been working to start the local chapter for more than six years but until recently had not received adequate interest from prospective members.

The nearest NBNA chapters are in St. Louis, Missouri and Memphis, Tennessee.

This symposium was open for all nurses to attend for the opportunity to network and learn the history behind NBNA.

Jones recruited Eric J. Williams, the first black male president of NBNA, to speak at the symposium.

Williams is also a professor of nursing at Santa Monica College in Los Angeles, California. He encourages his students to be the change they want to see in the profession of nursing.

“If you do not create your future, no one will. You have to drive that, you have to say ‘Yes, I can,’” Williams said.

Williams wants all nurses to strive for their best because they set the tone for the next generation of nurses to come.

“We have to look at how we lift as we climb,” Williams said. “We are not a union; we are an organization that has counter goals that make sure we have minorities in the pipelines,” Williams said.

Williams pushes for everyone to attend NBNA’s 47th annual conference in 2019 in New Orleans. He said this would not only be an opportunity to see what NBNA is about and a way to network with other professional nurses, but to also get a feel for what you want to do within the nursing field.

Southeast senior Courtney Brooks said she felt motivated after the symposium.

“This event made me feel hopeful and really inspired to get out there and be a leader and start making the chances we want to see in the health care field,” Brooks said. “There are not a lot of black nurses or minorities in the health care field, and the more we show our face to show the change we are trying to make the more we can start building more confidence and getting more people involved in it.”

Since 1971, NBNA has represented 150,000 African American registered nurses, licensed vocational/practical nurses, nursing students and retired nurses from the USA, Eastern Caribbean and Africa, with 114 chartered chapters in 34 states.

NBNA offers scholarships to student nurses at all level as well as NBNA chapters. As well as numerous programs such as mentorships, global health, cardiovascular health in women under 40, obesity initiatives and the list goes on.

“It felt good to know that we have a community to go to as black student nurses, to have a support group,” Southeast senior Ciera Ruffin said.

If you are interested in joining NBNA, contact Jones via email at