Celebrating Black History Month: Erik Jean-Pierre
Celebrating Black History Month
Erik-Jean Pierre is an Intensive Care Nurse in the St. Luke’s Hospital Emergency Department. Having been with Southcoast Health since 2008, Erik is always looking for ways to support patients, colleagues, and community members with whom he interacts.
As Southcoast Health celebrates Black History Month, Erik shares how this month is significant to him both personally and professionally. “To me, Black History Month is an opportunity to look back at the legacy of Black American history and to reflect on where I come from in the hopes to continue to add to that legacy,” he says.
“Growing up African American provided me with unique experiences that help me view the world from a perspective I have now come to value,” he says. “I am the son of two immigrant parents and grew up in a Haitian/Puerto Rican cultured household. Although I may have not received a traditional upbringing, I have learned to take pride in those experiences that have subconsciously guided me in my career path.”
At Southcoast Health, Erik has held various roles and worked with many teams across the organization. In 2008, he began working as a housekeeper and transitioned to a patient transport role in 2011. In 2015, Erik took on the role of an Emergency Department Technician.
“My time as an Emergency Department Technician allowed me to witness the work of truly amazing and courageous frontline healthcare providers,” says Erik. “Working alongside nurses that sacrificed so much to ensure the well-being of strangers helped me realize nursing was something I wanted to be a part of.”
Inspired by his colleagues, Erik became an Emergency Department Registered Nurse in 2019. He truly enjoys his time in the Emergency Department and working at St. Luke’s Hospital is especially meaningful to him as he gets to help patients in the community he grew up in.
In this role, Erik has been tirelessly working on the Frontlines of the COVID pandemic for the past two years. While caring for patients with serious illnesses or injuries, Erik shared that a top priority is educating patients about how they can protect themselves and their loved ones against COVID-19.
Along with caring for patients in ED, Erik is also the newly appointed chair of the Black Lives Matter Coalition, part of the Diversity Equity & Inclusion Council at Southcoast Health. “I am so proud of things this group has been able to accomplish in a short period of time,” he says.
In the past year and a half, the Black Lives Matter Coalition has worked towards its mission to achieve a supportive, equal and more inclusive environment at St. Luke’s Hospital – and eventually throughout Southcoast Health. A few recent accomplishments of the BLM Coalition include creating a public Southcoast Diversity statement sharing Southcoast Health’s policy prohibiting discrimination, initiating implicit bias training for all Southcoast leaders, and recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. day as an official Southcoast Health Holiday.
“Racial injustice appears to be a systemic issue that goes beyond my own ability to truly understand,” says Erik. “My wish is to start a dialogue about how to begin creating change. Having these uncomfortable conversations with our counterparts can help them understand the pain that racial injustice has on a person of color, and learn how they can help work towards creating a more equal and inclusive culture.”
Leading the Black Lives Matter Coalition and continuing to grow in his career, Erik is looking forward to starting a new role as an Intensive Care Nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital this month. In the future, Erik plans to continue his education by earning his master’s degree in Nursing or becoming a Nurse Practitioner.
To learn more about Southcoast Health’s Black History Month celebration please visit: Celebrating Black History Month – Southcoast Health.