When Nurses Unite: A Call for Leadership and Advocacy in Nursing

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In new memoir of being a Jamaican nurse in New York, Verlia M. Brown reflects on the nursing profession’s past and future

My Journey on Becoming a Nurse by Verlia Brown
'My Journey on Becoming a Nurse' divulges the tenacity, spirit, and love of patients that enabled Brown to rise to the top of her profession from humble roots.

“We always need strength from each other because when nurses unite, we are one strong voice.” In her new book, “My Journey on Becoming a Nurse: Contribution to the Nursing Profession,” Verlia M. Brown, M.A., RN, BC calls on all nurses to stand up and work together toward a greater nursing profession.

In a memoir of her career in nursing from the 1970s through the 2010s, Brown reflects on the evolution of nursing in the last four decades, leadership qualities in nurses, the importance of mentoring and advocacy, and recommendations to address the current staffing shortage in nursing and nursing education.

A native of Jamaica, Brown overcame remarkable barriers to success, including the loss of her mother when Brown was a young child, challenges as a young solo immigrant, and economic and racial obstacles along her journey. “My Journey on Becoming a Nurse” divulges the tenacity, spirit, and love of patients that enabled her to rise to the top of her profession from humble roots.

Brown shares stories in the book about everyday challenges in a different era of nursing, but also the moments that defined her career. In 1997, she cared for two alleged terrorists who were accused of attempting detonating pipe bombs in the Atlantic Avenue subway station and on a commuter bus. Injured in a shootout with police, the patients’ three-week hospital stay included high security and hunger strikes. In anecdotes like this and others, Brown tackles the controversial question of whether nurses should be able to refuse care for patients in an unsafe environment.

In her role as President of the New York State Nurses Association, Brown met with Bill and Hillary Clinton, Coretta Scott King, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, and former New York Governor Michael Bloomberg. In her leadership roles, she led advocacy rallies and represented NYSNA to national media including CNN and The Today Show.

For more information, visit http://www.myjourneyonbecominganurse.com.

My Journey on Becoming a Nurse
By Verlia M. Brown, M.A., RN, BC
ISBN: 978-1-4836-7779-8
Available in hardbound, paperback and e-book
Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Xlibris

About the author
Verlia M. Brown, M.A., RN, BC was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and immigrated to Brooklyn in 1967 where she soon enrolled in the Kings County Hospital Center School of Nursing. In 1974, Brown began her nursing career in an intensive care unit. Over her 38-year career at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, Brown completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and took on a number of leadership roles, including President of NYC HHC Executive Council of Nurse Practitioners and the first New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation nurse to serve on the American Nurses Association board of directors and delegate to the ANA’s United Nurses Association. Brown retired from nursing in March, 2012 and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International and Nurses House.

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Mandy Bray
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Mandy Bray
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