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Staff Snapshot: Carter Todd, nurse & representative health care advocate

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Carter Todd

“The Black community deserves to have more allies on their team in the health care field,” Carter Todd shared in a recent interview with UC Davis Health.

Carter, who is himself African-American, has long been interested in encouraging more Black men to pursue nursing. While completing his master’s degree in leadership from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, he focused his thesis on perceptions of nursing among Black men. He visited community barbershops throughout the Sacramento region to talk about the nursing profession and help dispel preconceived notions that nursing is a profession better suited to women. 

By encouraging young Black men to pursue nursing careers, he is raising awareness of an overlooked career path — in a rewarding and in-demand industry — while also helping to build a future health care workforce that will better represent and advocate for communities of color.

Now a clinical nurse II at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Carter is the founder and president of the Capitol City Black Nurses Association (CCBNA), a professional organization that advocates for local nurses while working to optimize health outcomes in underserved communities.

Recently, the CCBNA has worked to serve local communities in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. “During the past several months, our 40+ members have created several programs around COVID-19 that have served to educate, support and empower our community. Being able to take an active role during times of extreme hardship has been the most meaningful part of these experiences. Giving people tools to succeed and to flourish in the face of adversity is how I think CCBNA makes the deepest impact,” says Carter.

This ability to make a deep impact in others’ lives is the foundation of Carter’s passion for the nursing profession. “There are numerous instances where nursing provides the purest form of meaning and purpose in the Pediatric ICU,” he says. “There are times when we care for the most unthinkable of patient circumstances and being able to nurse children back from the direst of circumstances to a full and healthy recovery is truly miraculous. Our team is full of real-life superheroes and it is an honor to work alongside so many talented individuals.” 

And, Carter finds strong ties between his work with CCBNA and UC’s mission. “The UC Principles of Community align specifically with the core values of CCBNA by advocating for a group of people who have historically been marginalized within our country’s system,” he says. “Not only acknowledging disparities, but also empowering and uplifting people, are proven strategies of creating change.”

Meet Carter

Name: Carter Todd

Job title: Clinical Nurse II, PICU/PCICU

Department/Unit: Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Location: UC Davis Children’s Hospital

When did you start working for UC? I started in the New Graduate Nurse Residency Program in 2016

In five words or less, what do you do for UC? Pediatric ICU Registered Nurse

Why do you love working for UC? Working at a Level 1 Trauma Center and Teaching Hospital provides unending opportunities to learn and grow within my profession. We are the best hospital in the region and I take a lot of pride in being a part of a high-level team. 

What’s something people don’t know about you? I have a twin brother, and I played college athletics before pursuing my nursing degree.

Who’s your dream dinner guest (living or dead) and why? Barack Obama. He has lived a life of purpose and passion, in my opinion, as no other has. There would be many pearls of wisdom he would bestow on me and that dinner would be the most valuable of dialogues. 

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? Do not just go through doors as they open, but be prepared and ready to break them down as well.

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