What does the term “diversity” mean to you? How does it apply to your career as a nurse? As a traveling nurse? So many people talk about how diversity is a complicated topic, but the reality is the perceived complexities surrounding its issues are just that - perceived. Most diversity issues have a straightforward answer, and that’s to treat people like people and give everyone the respect, dignity and representation they deserve. For nursing, it’s no different. Fact: the nursing industry is predominantly female. Out of the 3.5 million nurses in the U.S., 3.2 million of them are women. But issues surrounding diversity in nursing go beyond just gender demographic metrics. Diversity means ALL. It involves...

    • Age,
    • Culture,
    • Beliefs,
    • Customs,
    • Ethnicity,
    • Race,
    • Religion,
    • Gender,
    • Sexual Orientation,
    • Gender Identity,
    • Geographical Location,
    • Educational Background and
    • Socioeconomic Status

    But diversity topics like race and ethnicity are about more than the color of one’s skin or their country of origin – they involve the person’s cultural background as well. All diversity issues are related to some extent. For minority nurses, this understanding is imperative to feeling welcome in their work environment. Diversity and inclusion in the nursing industry has a trickle-down effect that improves nurse satisfaction and patient care. Here’s how: [bctt tweet="@FreedomHCS takes pride in encouraging #diversity and inclusion in the #nursing industry. Find out how:" via="no"]

    Representation Matters

    First, we need to highlight that diversity means more than meeting diversity metrics for hiring goals. Representation is a major key to successful diversity efforts, so incorporating a proactive approach means accepting nurses for their differences and promoting a culture of inclusion in their work environment. To further illustrate this point, here's the demographic breakdown of minority nurses in the U.S.:

    • 0.6% of nurses are American Indian or Alaskan Native
    • 1.4% of nurses categorize themselves as two or more races
    • 3.6% of nurses are Asian
    • 7.5% of nurses are Hispanic or Latino
    • 23.6% of nurses are Black or African American (non-Hispanic)
    • 75.4% of nurses are white

    Here’s the demographic breakdown of the U.S. population:

    • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (0.2%)
    • American Indian and Alaska Native (1.3%)
    • Two or more races (2.7%)
    • Asian (5.8%)
    • Black or African American (13.4%)
    • Hispanic or Latino (18.1%)
    • White (76.6%)

    The current U.S. population is about 327.4 million people, that means there are roughly 76.6 million people in the U.S. that don’t identify as white or Caucasian. In comparison, there are only 861,000 minority-based nurses who identify with those population groups. The cultural differences associated with each minority create barriers for healthcare providers if they only hire white nurses. At the same time, it creates issues regarding proper patient care when nurses don’t understand their patients and vice versa. Diverse teams outperform non-diverse teams by 35%. In nursing, this truth is observed in the basic understanding of each patient’s unique body chemistry because every patient has a different biological makeup. Not only do patients come from different backgrounds, cultures, ethnic groups and walks of life, but they all have their own genetic composition that predisposes them to their unique medical needs. This means diversity has the ability to improve their experience and their care because a more diverse nursing workforce means diverse patients will feel more comfortable and understood in their treatment. This is especially important considering only 43% of patients believe their providers are delivering proper patient care.

    The Need For Diverse Skills

    67% of job seekers want to join a diverse team, but diverse teams of medical professionals need more than just representation to truly improve the situation for other nurses and patients. They need skills necessary to properly treat the diverse population of the country and to eliminate roadblocks and missteps for those treatments. Think about what you could learn from a fellow nurse who identifies as Muslim about how better to treat and care for Muslim patients. Think about how an Eastern-Asian nurse can show how verbal and nonverbal communication functions in their culture. [bctt tweet="What does the term “diversity” mean to you? See how @FreedomHCS defines #diversity: " via="no"] In the medical field, communication is everything. The bottom line is people need to be able to communicate with their doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers to make sure they are receiving the best care possible. Having a diverse workforce reduces the impact of language barriers, miscommunication due to language barriers, cultural alienation and negative verbal and nonverbal behaviors.

    The Benefits of Diversity Efforts

    Everyone wants to feel included and welcome in their environment, especially when it comes to their healthcare and medical treatment. On top of that, nurses need to feel empowered to perform their best work to provide the best care for their patients. The best way to move diversity forward is to give minority nurses representation and promote inclusivity and acceptance. Nurses who understand an individual patient's background, culture and experiences on a personal level increases that patient's comfort level considerably. The important figure here is that diversity in the nursing workforce means unique individuals from different ethnic groups, cultures and communities contribute unique ideas and perspectives that their team can use to improve the treatment of patients. For nurses, a united, solidified workforce grows when fair access to promotions, benefits, open positions, etc. becomes open to all regardless of the diversity differences. The representation, inclusion and acceptance of these differences is what truly matters. At Freedom Healthcare Staffing, we proudly offer full benefits to all our traveling nurses. Want to know what we all have to offer? Take a look! See all we do to make your travel assignment a great one! While we have your attention, sign up for job alerts from our travel nursing jobs portal for the hottest available locations and specialties from around the country.

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