The United States has always been a melting pot, and our growing cultural diversity is having a large impact on the field of nursing. Every day, nurses encounter and treat people from every race, religion, ethnicity, cultural background, gender, and sexual orientation. The American Nurses Association (ANA) promotes diversity awareness and defines it as the "acknowledgment and appreciation of differences in attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, and priorities in the health-seeking behaviors of different patient populations."
To care for patients, nurses need to better understand them. A study published in the Journal of Nursing finds that diversity efforts in the healthcare industry require a two-pronged approach to succeed.
Teams Need to Be Diverse
The best way for healthcare providers and hospitals to adapt to deliver cultural diversity nursing care is to make sure their staff represents the demographics of its patients. This can enhance the understanding of patients' morals, values, language and religion, ultimately making patients feel more comfortable when receiving care.
When hospitals hire nurses from diverse backgrounds, patient communication improves. While no single nurse can relate to every cultural background, language or orientation, a diverse team of nurses can more effectively listen to and understand a broader range of patients.
For example, a nurse who is African American, Muslim or LGBTQ will likely be more able to relate to and anticipate issues that are common among patients of a similar background. Enabling better communication with the patient and among the healthcare team can provide a more positive experience and a better outcome for the patient.
Individuals Need to Avoid Stereotyping
Stereotypes in the medical field can create problems between patients and nurses, interfering with a nurse’s ability to provide proper care. While breaking through stereotypes can be difficult, a good start is to begin all patient relationships with respect and compassion. This can lead to effective communication and better healthcare for all.
Nurses are on the front lines when it comes to day-to-day patient care and being aware of and adapting to cultural diversity is the key to providing patients with the best healthcare possible. A diverse team of caregivers who are committed to breaking through biases creates an inclusive atmosphere that is respectful to all patients.
Nursing is a calling. If you are interested in this rewarding career, Fortis offers nursing programs that can help you prepare for the licensure exam and pursue an entry-level position. Click here for more information or call us today at and speak to one of our career counselors.