The Importance Of Diversity In Nursing
It’s no secret that diversity in nursing provides greater opportunities to deliver quality care to all patients. The formula is simple: If a nursing workforce reflects a hospital’s demographics, communication improves, and patients feel more at ease.
According to the American Nurses Association, diversity awareness is the “acknowledgment and appreciation of the existence of differences in attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, and priorities in the health-seeking behaviors of different patient populations. It reflects the nursing profession’s contract with society and our responsibility to act according to a strong code of ethics, which means to be aware of our own attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, and priorities in providing care to individual patients, families, communities, and populations.”
There are an estimated 3 million nurses currently active in the US, with less than 25 percent racial or ethnic minorities, despite those groups making up 38 percent of the general population. The importance of greater cultural sensitivity within nursing is especially vital when we consider that minority populations are likely to become the majority by 2043, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
These stats are especially startling when we take expert predictions into account that by 2022, there will be more RN jobs in the US than any other profession, with 1.1 million RNs required to prevent a shortage. Such shortages are a result of the US population getting older, increases in life expectancy, and the fact that around one-third of the current nurse workforce is aged 50 or older and therefore entering their last decade in the profession, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration.
So, as the diversity in the US grows alongside nursing shortages, there’s a greater need than ever for RNs from minority groups to join hospitals and clinics in the coming years.
What Is Being Done About It?
Although poor minority representation is echoed across nursing schools, where only around 26 percent of students are from an ethnic or vulnerable group, some organizations are working to help with nursing college tuition for students. Things like scholarship programs and grants are making it possible for more minority students to go to nursing colleges, become an RN or attend an RN-to-BSN program, and enter the workforce.
Universities and colleges are increasingly making diversity a priority when it comes to recruiting new nursing students. For example, The University of Kansas Medical Center, School of Medicine has made diversity one of its core values, stating: “We are deeply committed to creating the very best and most stimulating educational and professional environment for our students and faculty, and delivering the best health care to our patients.”
And it’s not just educational establishments where diversity is a critical component of their mission. Atrium Health, the not-for-profit healthcare system operating North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, is committed to diversity and inclusion, stating: ‘The care we deliver is truly “for all”.’ Additionally, Mission Health, North Carolina’s sixth-largest health system champions its ‘Many Differences, One Mission’ commitment to diversity, inclusion, and health equity.
Of course, one of the fastest and most effective methods to enable these health organizations, universities, and colleges to diversify student pools and workforces is to look outside of the US to recruit international talent. Conexus, for example, is partnered with over 200 US healthcare organizations and educational establishments to help them meet their diversity goals. We achieve this through the placement of certified, licensed foreign nurses, and assisting international graduates in making their nursing career aspirations a reality.
Conexus In Action
Conexus partnered with an Appalachian healthcare system to help them ease the financial burden of hiring travel nurses to fill vacancies. We connected the client with international nursing talent, and they now have 120 nurses working with them directly. One of the biggest benefits of overseas nurses was that it helped the client to diversify their workforce, which is something their multicultural patients responded positively to.
Diversity is the combination of different cultures, ideas, and perspectives that brings forth greater collaboration, innovation, and patient care. Now more than ever, international nurses and new nursing graduates are an ideal solution to help diversify the nursing profession and ensure the US is successful in delivering better health for both our current and future demographics.
Find out more about international nurses and other staffing alternatives in our free guide - 'Alternatives to the traditional 13-week assignment'.
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