The Power of An Inclusive Workplace

By: Erin Hoolahan-Rice

Megan Parker, clinician, Women’s Health Unit, UPMC Horizon, is a leader in building a culture of inclusion, promoting diversity in the workplace, and role modeling compassionate care. She is making an impact that is noticed and appreciated by her patients and peers, leading to her recognition as one of UPMC’s 2024 Dignity & Respect Champions. 

Megan’s inspiration for her work and life comes from her parents, who taught her how to overcome obstacles, see the bright side of things, and make something out of nothing. Megan shared some words from her father that always stay with her: “We always told you that you were special and that you could do it. Now you have proven to yourself that you are and you can.” 

One of Megan’s proudest accomplishments is establishing the UPMC Horizon and UPMC Jameson Inclusion and Belonging Council, a group of staff members who are committed to creating an inclusive environment for their colleagues, patients, and community.  

“We come from an area that has a large population of minorities, but that is not often reflected in our staffing. When patients and families see how much we invest in creating a sense of belonging, their care becomes more meaningful to them,” Megan said. 

Megan believes striving to create an inclusive culture is just as essential for staff in the workplace as it is for patients.  

“I know what it feels like not to be heard or seen as a minority. It is challenging to be a nurse and leader. However, it is more challenging to be a nurse and a leader of color,” Megan shared. “A work culture that embraces and celebrates differences and promotes culturally competent care is imperative. No one should ever feel out of place due to the color of their skin or a disability they may have.” 

The Women’s Health Unit places an emphasis on learning their patients’ stories to ensure they feel heard and supported throughout their care. Whether they’re becoming a parent for the first time, are a single parent, or have struggled with substance use, everyone has a unique background that shapes the support they want and need.  

“We treat them like they are our own family. We ensure they feel safe and protected when sharing information they want,” Megan said. “In turn, we strive to ensure they feel cared for and heard and give them the desired birth experience.”