The ‘Nurse Power Network’ Helps Women Make Power Moves Beyond The Bedside

The ‘Nurse Power Network’ Helps Women Make Power Moves Beyond The Bedside

With National Nurses Month underway, the Nurse Power Network is in full effect, teaching, brunchin’, and making power moves beyond the bedside.

Women of color nurses comprise less than 20% of nurses in the healthcare industry. Many reports have highlighted factors, like racism, burnout, COVID-19-induced work conditions, and lack of work-life balance, that drive these women to set aside their personal and professional development.

Meisha Amia, R.N., and Dr. Nicole Thomas, R.N., licensed nursing leaders, community builders, co-founders, and co-CEOs of The Nurse Power Network, want to help these women take time for themselves. Whether you want to learn how to build and scale your brand or the fundamentals of public relations, this dynamite pair of nurse entrepreneurs are tapped in with empowering brunches, resources, and an intentional community.

They are launching the 5th annual Nurse Power Brunch: Essence Festival Edition this summer.

In celebration, BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke with Amia and Thomas for a conversation about their humble beginnings and passionate efforts.

Jojo Stylez of Captured by Jo

When did you discover your “Nurse Power?”

Amia: When I first began telling my story. I started as an online blogger and in public relations too. In doing so, I realized my power when tons of nurses were reaching out saying, ‘Oh my God, I’m inspired, I can’t believe you do so many things, and you’re a nurse.’ That did it for me, and that’s when I started community building because I wasn’t afraid to share my journey.

Thomas: I discovered my nurse power when I saw myself as a patient who used to be in bed at the Charity System Hospital. I grew up on Medicaid and didn’t have the best access. I remember having to sit in the ER with my mom for hours because I couldn’t get a doctor’s appointment. Many doctors did not take Medicaid or were on private pay, and we did not have private insurance. When I became a nurse, I was in a different role, and I knew then I had the power to change this.

What challenges did you face or witness in your positions that motivated you to build The Nurse Power Network?

Thomas: The challenge I faced was not seeing anyone that had really and truly done what I wanted to do before. That was one of the challenges because I didn’t really have a blueprint to follow. When I started to get into those executive nurse leadership positions, I realized that was another set of problems because I was often the youngest African American female holding this seat.

Amia: I felt boxed in. As a nurse, it is the social norm to be boxed in the hospital. But I needed more freedom and flexibility. That’s what made me dive into travel nursing and entrepreneurship. I published my first book seven years ago. I wanted to do it my way, and I didn’t want to be confined to the traditional picture of what a nurse looked like, and that’s important.

What impact does empowerment have on the nurses that you’ve helped?

Thomas: It’s really and truly helping nurses understand what elements they embody as individuals and how you can take that and leverage it to build.

Why is this year’s brunch relevant for Black women in today’s healthcare system?

Thomas: What makes it different this year is that, considering the state of healthcare. When we look at the numbers from the cutbacks, maternal health, and infant mortality in vulnerable Black and Brown communities and other factors, it will be nurses in attendance that will disrupt those systems and fix them.

Amia: I agree. This year is truly about understanding your value, and this is the year our nurses will recognize their power simply because of how healthcare has shifted.

Do you have any words of wisdom for our BE audience of nurses and entrepreneurs looking for empowerment?

Amia: Keep going regardless of what it looks like, and understand that the power isn’t being a nurse. Your power is in who you are as a person and who you are on the inside. Do not let your work title and accolades define your character. Your character has to be found within.

Thomas: If there was only one thing that the BE audience and nurses and entrepreneurs alike could do, network across all spectrums that you can.