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April 1, 2017

Meet Denetra Hampton: Leading the Way for Diversity

Denetra Hampton is an advocate for nursing education. As a nurse entrepreneur, she has built an educational empire that includes an EdTech startup, a nursing education and study center, nursing leadership initiative, and a digital magazine.

Denetra's work is focused on the development of future nurse leaders through a template of diversity, education, innovation, technology, and leadership.

In this interview, Denetra talks to us about her experience in the Navy, her nursing background and personal stories on how it has shaped her into the nurse entrepreneur she is today.

What inspired you to build your educational empire?

I will be the first to say, it was inspired by GOD… not me. I never wanted to teach; I never wanted to be an entrepreneur.  I got called to teach; this has been my sole inspiration.

How did your experience in the Navy impact you? 

Oh, it was everything. I served a total of 22 years. I started as an enlisted sailor, and worked my way up to the rank of Lieutenant in the Naval Nurse Corps. I served among some of the best in nursing and medicine. There is nothing like Navy Medicine or its training in my opinion, so it was a teacher in many ways.  But, in all of its education,  none of it prepared me for what I had to do in order to start a company from the ground up.

What are your biggest influences and how have they shaped your career?

My biggest influence was my mother; I lost her to breast cancer, but in that loss, I have received so much more, like GRATITUDE. For instance, there is not a second, minute, or hour that I don’t look up and say, THANK YOU. 

As a young nurse, I was privileged to have a mentor who early on showed me that all nurses DO NOT EAT THEIR YOUNG. As a matter of fact, she was the epitome of transparency and authenticity, and it has stuck with me throughout my own endeavors. 

Now, as a leader, I know the importance of mentorship and how implementation of mentorship programs must be at the forefront of nursing leadership to keep great talent. It is the only way we will survive.


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Why is diversity one of the most important factors in the classroom and the boardroom?

Nurses must not be MIA when it comes to community health and public health, hence we need to be proactive in helping bridge the gap in healthcare disparities.

One of the main reasons for this is a lack of diversity. This has hemorrhaged over to our ability to convince the world that we can lead from a global capacity.  Nurses are known for multiple dexterities, but leadership is not one of them.  

Nursing curriculums must infiltrate cultural competence on a whole new level, then be deliberate about moving that competence into serving our communities. Grassroots efforts have always made the most impact, and we have to look outside of ourselves to serve from a global front – and it all starts in the classroom.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

The best advice that I have received from a nursing and clinical standpoint was to “KNOW YOUR STUFF” and be the nurse that your colleagues would want to take care of them. 

From a business standpoint, the best advice was to always solve people’s problems; if you are solving a problem, you will always be in business.

I must say, these both live with me daily.

From being a nurse, entrepreneur, editor in chief, and educator, you seem like a very busy person. How do you manage your time and work life balance? 

Balance is a daily progress. I don’t always get it right, but I have a few mainstays that have helped me get to some pretty awesome places, given me great opportunities, and kept me healthy.

1. Be strategic in your dealings, both personal and professional

2. Be consistent

3. Be authentic

4. Be committed to ONE thing; you can’t master a million things

5. Be of service

What was your most memorable moment as a nurse, and why? 

There are so many, but as a Navy nurse, I had to go out to a ship on a little tug boat in the Arabian Gulf with the clinic doc to transport a sailor who had appendicitis.

To witness the Navy medical mission of bringing that sailor off of that ship via a hoist and then our team getting him back to shore before his appendix ruptured was pretty cool – and I mean Super Kool with a “K”!

It was at this moment in time that I knew I was a real nurse.

What advice would you give young nurses starting out in their careers? 

Make sure that you want to be a nurse. Don’t do nursing to please your family or because you think it’s a lucrative job. When you do it for these reasons, you will go through the motions and never really know it for what it really is. Make that decision as early as possible.

For more information on Denetra and her amazing work, follow her on Twitter, or visit her websites:

For Nurses By Nurses Magazine

Nursing Education and Study Center

Next Up: Meet Kate Doubler: Eating Her Way to A Healthy Life

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