Black Pittsburgh nurses combine Crocs and formal wear for fundraising ball | Pittsburgh City Paper

Black Pittsburgh nurses combine Crocs and formal wear for fundraising ball

Crocs are probably the beloved and maligned footwear out there. For many professionals who work on their feet all day, however, the EVA, antimicrobial slides are a lifesaver, offering comfort and personality in a wide range of colors and styles. This especially applies to nurses, and on Sept. 3, Black nurses in the region will attend the Croc Ball as a way to celebrate and advance their hard work and contributions to the medical industry.

Pittsburgh's Bold, Black, and Beautiful Nurses, a networking membership group, will host the first-ever Inaugural Croc Ball at Slate in the Strip District. The event encourages attendees to wear Crocs with their formal wear and will serve as a fundraiser for the group's Calvin W. Richardson scholarship, which supports African-American students in accredited nursing programs.

Nursing has become one of the fastest growing and in-demand professions in the U.S., offering opportunities to secure a career in the medical field. However, the strain of COVID-19 has highlighted disparities in the industry along racial lines. In March, for example, a Rutgers School of Nursing research study found that Black nurses experienced high degrees of psychological distress due to worries over COVID-19 and workplace racism. Wage disparities between Black nurses and their white counterparts also exist, with one Health Affairs study citing that Black nurses are relegated to the lowest paid, most hazardous jobs in the health care field.

The statistics are alarming considering that more than one in five of all working Black women are employed in the health care sector.

In light of this, Bold, Black, and Beautiful Nurses developed a space for nurses to network and "celebrate each other’s accomplishments." The group's website says  that they, among other things, ensure that members "have the necessary tools to succeed and compete in the ever changing field of medicine."

“Our nurses work very hard to help provide the utmost care for the families who need it,” says Bold, Black, and Beautiful Nurses founder Gwendolyn Burgess-Lane. “The message is to let those in the nursing industry and those looking to start a career in nursing know that we see them, and we care about them too.”

Croc Ball. 7 p.m. Sat., Sept. 3. Slate Studio. 2517 Penn Ave., Strip District. $100. early bird tickets $50.

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