As the demographics of U.S. cities across the country change, an emphasis on diversity in the workforce becomes increasingly important as organizations strive to be representative of the communities they serve. While diversity is an issue that touches every industry and occupation, it can be especially important in nursing given the very personal and intimate contact nurses have with their patients and their families while performing their duties.
From gender and ethnicity to age, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and education, nurses encounter people with a variety of backgrounds and traits every day. Each interaction requires an ability to connect and communicate on a human level to ensure that each patient is getting the best care possible.
A diverse nursing workforce can be a crucial component in reaching underserved populations that may not seek medical care due to difficulties communicating or feeling heard. Finding common ground can help to bridge a cultural gap between the medical system and the patient.
One way the industry is working to improve diversity in nursing is by spreading information about its importance. The American Nurses Association (ANA) offers diversity awareness training and defines the process as “acknowledgment and appreciation of differences in attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, and priorities in the health-seeking behaviors of different patient populations.”
With this move toward increased diversity, the number of minority students enrolling in nursing curriculums is increasing. About 30 percent of students in all nursing program levels are minorities, according to Campaign for Action, an organization that promotes equity, diversity and inclusion in nursing.
Diversity in healthcare can also involve the inclusion of different ideas. New perspectives can foster greater collaboration, increase creativity and drive innovation in healthcare solutions. This can lead to improved care and patient satisfaction.
Healthcare providers need to take the necessary steps to ensure that their staff members are representative and understanding of their patients in order to establish a culture that is inclusive of all patients. Increasing diversity in healthcare can also improve the health outcomes for minority populations and contribute to the ultimate goal - providing the best healthcare possible for everyone.
To find out how you can become part of the nursing community and make a difference in people’s lives, visit our Nursing page or call us at 1-855-436-7847 for more information.