Bacon’s Law and Human Development

Ildaura Murillo-Rohde was born in Panama and came to the U.S. when she was 25. She completed a nursing diploma, and her first nursing job was at a hospital in San Antonio, TX. She was surprised to find that there were few Hispanic nurses in the hospital even though the hospital served a predominately Hispanic population. Her Hispanic background and her fluency in Spanish were essential for her care giving function. Ildaura decided to devote her life to increasing the number of Latinos in nursing.

She decided to continue her education by pursuing degrees in both Nursing and Education. She was the first Hispanic nurse to obtain a Ph.D. from New York University. Her focus was on cultural awareness in nursing.

Dr. Murillo-Rohde founded the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN). Through NAHN, Dr. Murillo-Rohde worked tirelessly to encourage Hispanic youth to consider nursing as a career. Latinos make up 17.3 percent of the U.S. population but just 3 percent of the RN’s are Latinos. NAHN offers scholarships and an award is given each year to recognize excellence in teaching of nursing. Both of those are named in honor of Dr. Murillo-Rohde.

Human development needs pioneers who not only excel in their life’s work but also encourage others with their background to contemplate a vison of who they can become. One of the unspoken of tragedies in our society is the self-imposed limits that many young people place on their future.

The challenge to pursue many career paths can be daunting. Finances, cultural isolation, lack of support services, mentoring, and self-doubt are just a few of these challenges.

There is a popular saying that everyone in the movie industry can be connected to the actor Kevin Bacon within six links. This is referred to as Bacon’s Law. Suppose that Bacon’s Law were applied to human development. Take one person in a profession and determine how many persons were influenced and supported by that person to pursue that profession. And then take those individuals and determine how many other persons they influenced and supported. If you follow this approach over a period of years and apply Bacon’s Law, you will be able to greatly expand the number of persons who realized fulfilling careers which may not have seemed possible to them.

Just imagine what might be the result if all of us had a personal mission of helping young people pursue a career path that may not have seemed possible? Just imagine the support we may be able to provide? Just imagine how our efforts multiply to future generations of young people who might be able to achieve dreams that seemed out of reach?

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When you empower people, you’re not influencing just them; you’re influencing all the people they influence.” – John Maxwell (author on leadership)

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