It’s vital that we start training and creating more diversity in the field of nursing and healthcare in general. As the population in the U.S. becomes more diverse (currently, 37% of the U.S. population is comprised of minorities and that’s expected to increase to 57% in 2060), the need for a more diverse healthcare system is pertinent.
Many cultural groups within the U.S. receive little to no medical care or are grossly underserved for many different reasons. A lack of diversity within the healthcare system is one of the biggest reasons these groups don’t receive the adequate care they need. According to MinorityNuse.com 75.4% of nurses currently identify as White, 23.6% identify as Black or African American, 3.6% identify as Asian, 1.4% identify as two or more races and 0.6% identify as American Indian or Alaskan Native.
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Diversity in healthcare is important because it allows nurses and other healthcare professionals to provide better care for their patients because they are able to relate to them. Diversity in nursing or healthcare includes: gender, veteran status, status, race, disability, age, religion, sexual orientation and more.
Diversity Helps Communication
Nurses should understand how they can relate to their patients’ background or culture, environment, food, religious views, etc, so they can provide their patients with better care. Nurses, or any healthcare providers, are able to do this if they have adequate diversity training and are part of a diverse workforce. In doing so, they are practicing cultural awareness and sensitivity, growing their knowledge and improving their care.
Communication between nurses and patients improves drastically when healthcare providers are able to bridge the diversity gap in order to relate to their patients. Almost every healthcare visit provides an opportunity to create a positive experience with patients. When nurses are able to relate to their patients it improves their communication and also helps the patients feel more at ease. If nurses are unable to relate to their patients, this could leave the patient uneasy and may lead to the patient feeling like they aren’t receiving adequate care.
Diversity Increases Understanding
The pursuit of diversity in the nursing workforce helps ensure that members of ethnic groups, cultures and communities are represented by the healthcare staff. These individuals will contribute unique ideas and perspectives that the team can use in the treatment of patients. One of the biggest reasons that hiring managers may not implement diversity initiatives is they’re afraid of introducing people who may not agree with each other. However, it has been proven that workplaces with a more diverse workforce are able to outperform those that aren’t by 35%. This is just one reason companies shouldn’t be afraid of actively focusing on diversity hiring initiatives.
Diversity and inclusion combine different cultures, ideas and perspectives to foster greater collaboration, creativity and innovation in the workplace. All of this can lead to better patient care and satisfaction, which is the ultimate goal. This is the direction the healthcare industry should head in order to provide better healthcare to our current and future demographics.
Every healthcare visit provides an opportunity to create a positive experience for patients. When nurses are able to relate to their patients better, it improves the patients themselves feel more at ease. If nurses are unable to relate to their patients, this leaves the patient uneasy and could lead to the patient feeling like they aren’t receiving adequate care.
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Our demographics are changing and our healthcare providers should begin to hire healthcare staff with diverse backgrounds that represent the changing patient population. Healthcare providers that value diversity may end up being more valuable to their patients. If you’re wondering how you can help promote diversity initiatives within your workplace, get started with our diversity checklist.