Texas nurse Shawntay Harris has made history as the first Black woman inducted into the Academy of Emergency Nurses. Harris, whose nursing career began in 2000, founded Eminent CPR. This lifesaving American Heart Association training center helps nurses and other medical professionals learn and teach CPR. 

According to Daily Nurse, Harris opened Eminent CPR in 2006. In addition to her work at the center, she also offers “courses from the Emergency Nurses Association, then my own courses.”

The Academy of Emergency Nurses highlights nurses who have made “enduring, substantial contributions to emergency nursing and helped advance the emergency nursing profession, including the healthcare system in which emergency nursing is delivered.” 

Harris told Daily Nurse that she was shocked by her nomination. 

She recalled, “When I was approached as a potential candidate to be inducted, I was like, ‘Oh, am I worthy? Have I done enough? How do I feel?'” she said. “Then when I looked at the other academy members, I was like, ‘Oh, no, there’s no one else who looks like me,’ — I will be making history if inducted.”

The Eminent CPR founder also believes that seeing someone like her being recognized on this level will positively impact patients. 

“Patients have better outcomes when treated by healthcare partners that look like them,” she said. 

brief published by the Urban Institute about the relationship between patients and their usual healthcare providers agrees. 

“Perceptions of a shared identity between patients and their healthcare providers could be one way to improve the patient-provider relationship and foster trust and better communication,” it states. 

Harris added that she hopes to pave the way for more Black nurses to be recognized in the medical field. 

“It feels amazing to know that I’ve broken this ceiling so other nurses of color know they can, their work is great and exciting, has global impact, is sustainable, and they’ll see someone that looks like them,” she said.