As a young girl, Tamarra Crandall wanted to become a doctor, aspiring to help cure patients suffering from illnesses that cause so much pain and discomfort, especially among minority populations.
As fate would have it, Crandall didn’t pursue a medical degree. But, as she will tell you, she pursued the next best thing, which was a career in nursing, and she has no regrets.
“The most rewarding aspect of being a nurse is delivering care to people in their most vulnerable moment,” said Crandall, a registered nurse at Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “Being in the hospital is very hard for people. Being there for them and advocating on their behalf for safe and equitable care is very rewarding to me. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Crandall, who is African American, adds another reason for her pursuit of a nursing career is wanting to care for patients in the Black community, believing in the importance of diversity and equity. She wanted to also pursue nursing to represent the African American community in a profession in which only 6.7% are African American nurses, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
“Minority representation is extremely important,” notes Crandall, who has a doctorate of nursing practice in Executive Administration.
“Diversity in the workforce – especially in healthcare – is so critical because patients are more comfortable with people who look like them. Being African American, it’s extremely important to me that our community is well-represented in the workforce. A very important part of nursing is cultural competence. You have to make sure you have representation for all communities, especially when you provide care to a minority population.”
As a nurse, Crandall is aware of the severe shortage of registered nurses locally and across the nation. She encourages young Black women to study nursing, as well as other qualified candidates to enter the field that she describes as very fulfilling.
Jerry Spicer, regional chief nurse executive and vice president of patient care services for Kaiser Permanente Southern California and Hawaii, noted health care organizations are always looking to hire registered nurses due to a shortage. At Kaiser Permanente Southern California, open nursing positions fluctuate between 350 and 450 at any given time.
Because of the short supply of registered nurses, especially in specialty positions, Kaiser Permanente offers sign-on bonuses ranging from $4,000 to $6,000 for full-time positions, and $2,000 to $3,000 for part-time positions.
“Not only is being a nurse a noble profession, but it’s also a good-paying job that’s very satisfying,” he said. “The need for registered nurses is very high, and health care organizations across-the-board are doing everything they can to attract candidates.”
Although nursing involves hard work and can be challenging, Crandall notes the rewards outweigh the challenges associated with the profession.
“This is the best job I can think of,” she explained. “Nursing is so well-rounded. Nursing is also such a broad profession that allows for nurses to use their skills in various fields. The real joy of being a nurse is providing compassionate care and making a difference. Believe me when I say there are few jobs where you will truly make a difference in people’s lives for the better. As a nurse, my relationship with my patients is what keeps me going.”