Jamaican nurse educator in vanguard of nursing mentorship

Jamaican-born nurse educator, Dr. Althea Mighten.
Jamaican-born nurse educator, Dr. Althea Mighten.
Dr. Althea Mighten

A Jamaican-born nurse educator in New York City, an advocate for nursing education and excellence in nursing practice, has been in the vanguard of mentoring nurses and prospective nurses, particularly those in communities of color.

Brooklyn resident Dr. Althea Mighten, the senior director for Nursing Professional Development and Nursing Recruitment at NYU (New York University) Langone Orthopedic Hospital in lower Manhattan, serves as mentor to student nurses and nurses who are members of New York Black Nurses Association (NYBNA).

“Nursing students are tomorrow’s mentorship of students to facilitate their transition from the role of a student to that of a professional registered nurse,” Dr. Mighten, who was recently honored by the NYBNA, told Caribbean Life in an exclusive interview. “Mentorship is also important for those of us who are already nurses.

“I am a strong supporter of mentorship and have had the opportunity to serve as a mentor for students who are members of the NYBNA,” added Dr. Mighten, who was born and raised in the District of Hayes in the Parish of Clarendon in Jamaica, and migrated to Brooklyn in 1981. “This was a very rewarding experience for me, and I am grateful to the NYBNA for making it possible.”

By being an avid supporter of the NYBNA since 2010, Dr. Mighten, whose teaching experience spans from academia to the practice setting, said she has been able to develop a partnership with the Department of Nursing at NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital in hosting several annual NYBNA events.

“It is an honor and privilege to be involved in the NYBNA, because I believe in its mission,” she said. “The NYBNA has provided the opportunity for me to collaborate and work alongside visionary nurses who are advocates and change agents for communities of color, and to serve as a mentor. The NYBNA membership includes not only nurses from varying cultures but also nursing students.”

According to its website, the NYBNA was founded in 1971 by six “visionary” nurses — Drs. Allisan Bennett and Janice Ruffin, Charles Hargett, Phyllis Jenkins, Beverly James, Sylvia Jones, and Andre Vialet — “in response to the growing concern of health disparities in African American communities in New York City.”

“The NYBNA is committed to serving communities of color through health promotion, prevention of disease and education,” it said.

Dr. Mighten received the NYBNA Leadership Award, on Feb. 26, during the 33rd National Black Nurses Day virtual celebration.

“I received the award for ‘Outstanding Service to Members of the Nursing Profession’ and for consistently partnering with community-based nursing organizations and programs to support the success of their members, and improve the circumstances and wellbeing of society at large,” said Dr. Mighten, whose areas of clinical expertise include acute care and psychiatric mental health nursing.

Recognized as a “personable” scholar and leader in nursing education and professional development, Dr. Mighten has taught at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College and State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate College of Nursing. She also teaches at NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital.

She has presented and published on various topics, such as teaching strategies; application of the micro-system framework in the practice environment; professional practice in nursing; structures and processes to support professional development and advancement of front-line nursing staff; leadership development; shared-governance in nursing; relationship-based care; and mentorship in nursing.

Her presentations were made at, among others, the Association for Nursing Professional Development (ANPD); Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN); Global Nursing Education Conference; Hispanic Nurses Association, New York Chapter Meeting (NAHN); NYBNA; NYU College of Nursing; NYU Langone Medical Center; New York Organization of Nurse Executives (NYONEL); SUNY Downstate Hospital, Critical Care Nursing, Brooklyn Chapter; Touro University; and 1199 Nursing Education Advisory Board Meeting.

Dr. Mighten’s work has been published in Advance for Nurses, Journal of Nursing Education, HANYS Workforce Strategies Guidebook, Nursing Spectrum, OR Manager and The Kansas Nurse.

Among her myriad accomplishments, Dr. Mighten said she is “most proud” of the contributions and the “high quality of care that our nurses provide” to Magnet designation x2 at NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital.

Magnet® designation, which is awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), is “the gold standard for nursing excellence,” Dr. Mighten said.

“Working in a Magnet environment allows nurses to flourish as professionals,” she said. “There is a strong focus on high quality care, professional autonomy, professional growth, inter-professional collaboration, leadership and teamwork.

“It is very rewarding to work in a Magnet culture,” she added, stating that she is “equally proud” of a wide range of professional development and programs that have been established to support the ongoing development of the staff at NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital.

She cited, among examples, critical care, orthopedics, operating room, post-anesthesia care, rehabilitation, preceptor, crisis prevention intervention, mentor, customer service, relationship-based care training programs; and professional certification review courses, such as the annual live orthopedic and online medical/surgical offerings.

As a mentor for students and other nurses, Dr. Mighten said she has also participated in community events, such as the High School Initiative that focuses on mentoring students from the High School for the Health Professions in lower Manhattan; Career Day at PS 235 in Brooklyn; Community Health Fair hosted by the Brooklyn-based Caribbean American Nurses Association (CANA); and Community Health Fair, hosted by St. Vincent and the Grenadines Nurses Association of New York.

In working her way up the nursing and academic ladders, Dr. Mighten obtained her Applied Associate of Science in Nursing from Queensborough Community College in Bayside, Queens in 1987; Bachelor of Science in Nursing from SUNY Health Science Center, College of Nursing, Brooklyn, in 1990; and Master of Arts in Nursing Education, with a minor in Acute Care of the Adult and Aged, from New York University, College of Nursing, in 1993.

She also obtained a Post-Master’s degree/certificate in Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner from New York University, College of Nursing, in 1998; a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership: Health Care Education/Nursing from NOVA Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale-Davie, Fl., in 2004; and a Doctorate in Nursing Practice from New York University, College of Nursing, in 2012.

“My accomplishments could not have been attained without the support of family and friends,” Dr. Mighten said. “I give God thanks for being by my side along this journey.”

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