Episode 291: Build a Sense of Belonging for Nurses and Patients

“A sense of belonging is what tethers us to those who share in our spaces that work with us. Belonging is fueled by a social connection, which is one of our basic human needs. When you feel safe, supported, and valued, you bring your full, authentic self to work and you’re fully engaged to work collaboratively to deliver the best patient care and quite frankly, be the best teammate ever,” Kecia Boyd, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, AOCNS®, BMTCN®, director of inclusion, diversity, and equity in the department of nursing and patient care services at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA, told Jaime Weimer, MSN, RN, AGCNS-BS, AOCNS®, manager of oncology nursing practice at ONS, during a discussion about how nurses can contribute to a community of belonging in their workplace.  

You can earn free NCPD contact hours after listening to this episode and completing the evaluation linked below.  

Music Credit: “Fireflies and Stardust” by Kevin MacLeod 

Licensed under Creative Commons by Attribution 3.0 

Earn 0.5 contact hours of nursing continuing professional development (NCPD), which may be applied to the professional practice and performance ILNA categories, by listening to the full recording and completing an evaluation at myoutcomes.ons.org by December 22, 2025. The planners and faculty for this episode have no relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies to disclose. ONS is accredited as a provider of NCPD by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. 

Learning outcome: The learner will report an increase in knowledge related to inclusion in nursing. 

Episode Notes 

To discuss the information in this episode with other oncology nurses, visit the ONS Communities.  

To find resources for creating an ONS Podcast Club in your chapter or nursing community, visit the ONS Podcast Library

To provide feedback or otherwise reach ONS about the podcast, email pubONSVoice@ons.org

Highlights From Today’s Episode 

“For better understanding how belonging is tied into diversity, inclusion, equity, let’s put in the context of a party. So, let’s say diversity is being invited to that party, equity is receiving the invitation to the party in the way that is right for you, inclusion is being asked to dance when you get to that party, and a sense of belonging is dancing like nobody is watching.” TS 3:43 

“A strong sense of belonging is important for nurses because it will help create and sustain a healthy work environment that fosters excellence in patient care and optimal outcomes for us—as staff, as nurses—our patients, and other members of the healthcare team.” TS 4:47 

“Building relationships at work is how we build resilience to our everyday work environment.  Resilience allows us to overcome those stressful situations and to adapt positively resulting in good wellbeing and mental health.” TS 6:01 

“I believe it begins with each of us as individuals to do some self-reflecting or some self-awareness, because a self-reflection will allow us to identify our own unconscious biases, it will allow us to check our assumptions, it will allow us to examine our role of power and privilege, which will lead us to a better understanding about the experiences of historically marginalized groups.” TS 8:38 

“It’s about changing the culture of a workplace to be more inclusive. And there is a few ways that an organization can do that. And one way is maybe providing a learning and development opportunities in the ID&E space, for example, like this podcast that we’re doing now. It allows us to learn about the sense of belonging and also our organizations to offer remote and learning development opportunities in the space. We need organizations to foster a collaborative environment.” TS 11:01  

“That’s one way you can build a relationship by offering to help, jumping in. And by jumping in, offering to help, and maybe sharing and saying, ‘Oh, I know this happened to me before,’ or ‘Sometimes I forget to do that,’ it shares your vulnerability, which opens up everybody else to share their vulnerability is really building that trusting relationship. Sharing stories, asking questions, but really connecting with your team. And you do that—you have to talk, and you have to listen.” TS 13:59 

“If we cannot care for ourselves and our colleagues, how can we care for others? Right? It’s so true that when we’re caring for each other, we can care for our patients. And you’re right. Patients can see when things are disjointed, when there’s not a flow, when there’s not a cohesive team. But we’re animals, right? So, if as animals, if we’re hurt or insulted, we tend to retreat, to go in, we’re not going to go out. And so, people see that. When you go in and you’re not really sharing and working as a team to deliver this effective and efficient patient care, not part of the whole team, there’s a gap, there’s a missing. You’re not able to add your expertise in the outcome of this patient’s care.” TS 20:56 

“We talk about words and definition, but how do we make it more actionable? How do you make sense of belonging actionable? And one way that I shared with you is that offer of a chair. It’s those small things of being aware of what’s around you and looking at what your colleague may need and getting that without asking.” TS 22:10 

“We all have unconscious bias. You know, if you have a brain, you’re biased. Biases are just due from a lifetime exposure to cultural attitudes, previous experiences, social class, gender, race, just to name a few. But how we can look at that, as we talked about, is that to begin this change, to talk about sense of belonging, it begins with us individually of our own self-awareness of our self-reflecting, and we can do that.” TS 24:03 

“We have to learn to be uncomfortable with that, and we don’t talk enough about that. Because I believe that growth and comfort can never coexist, because as you’re growing, as we’re changing, it’s uncomfortable. And so, to talk more about that, to be ‘It’s okay to be uncomfortable,’ and to learn to be comfortable with that because we can’t grow without feeling uncomfortable.” TS 27:09 

Listen on:

Listen on Amazon Music, Listen on Apple Podcasts, Listen on Spotify, Listen on YouTube Music

ONS Podcasts

On-the-go discussions covering a wide array of clinical and leadership topics that you can earn NCPD for.

View All Podcasts

Related Topics