Black Stories: Africa Dauphiney
A New Iberia native with more than 20 years of healthcare experience, Africa is dedicated to her industry and climbing the professional ladder. The first and youngest of five siblings to graduate from high school and college, she started as a CNA and worked her way up to obtaining her MSN as a nurse practitioner. Currently, she works here at Ochsner Lafayette General as an Informatics Clinical Specialist as a part of our Population Health office. We sat down (virtually) with her recently to learn more about her experience as a person of color in healthcare and to learn more about her motivations and advice for those looking to enter the industry – and her ability to love even when others show hate.
What made you want to work in healthcare?
Growing up, I always knew; I had the gift of compassion and desire to take care of those experiencing vulnerable times in life. The moment that solidified my place in healthcare occurred when my father was ill. I was his advocate. It was during this time I understood that nursing chose me.
As a Person of Color (POC) who works in healthcare, have there been any hurdles/obstacles you’ve had to overcome to get where you are today? If so, what are they?
There have always been obstacles because I have always been an unapologetic black female. I have experienced inequality in pay and been denied promotions, to name a few. My expertise can be intimidating to some and is often viewed as egotistical. My refusal to tone down my abilities is alarming, and many have tried to silence my confidence. The reality is I live in a world that, often, wants to smother my presence.
How did you overcome those challenges?
My faith has been my strength and guiding grace. Many never figure out their purpose in life. I am blessed to know mine. Healthcare is my ministry, not a profession. I stand on God’s word as noted in Romans 8:31 “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
What advice do you have for anyone looking to enter into this industry?
Embrace the opportunities presented to change lives and understand the responsibility of the calling.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black history is American history. It provides devoted time to reflect on the past and present contributions of African Americans that are significant to this country’s strength. Black history also offers an opportunity to focus on the hope of positive change in the world for all.