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Diversity in the Workforce

Outline

Diversity in the workforce is important for effective healthcare service delivery. In the recent years, most attention has been focused on the increasing shortage of registered nurses and financial and qualitative impacts of this shortage on the health care delivery. This report presents different ways of improving nursing diversity. It also provides information on the significance of having a diverse workforce. It gives different ways how the workforce could be improved through recruitment and retention of nursing talents. It gives recommendations on the importance of students at different nursing schools working together with hospitals to improve service delivery. This work also presents information on impacts of nursing shortages due to challenges in the education pipeline and the review of the students’ diversity.

The Problem

The nation as a whole is facing increasing shortage of nurses, especially nurses from minority groups. With the current shortage of nurses, most hospitals hire new graduates and then invest a huge amount of resources into their training and orientation. As the nation gets more diverse, it increases the need to have a bigger representation of the minority in the American workforce.

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Policy Options

  • Policy Option A: Workplace recruitment and retention for minority nurses.
  • Policy Option B: Communication and teamwork in the multi-cultural workplace.
  • Policy Option C: Increasing minority faculty and researchers.

Significance of the Policies and Recommendations

Workplace recruitment and retention for minority nurses will eventually increase the number of nurses that could provide services to minority groups.

Increasing minority faculty and researchers will improve mentorship and attract more students from marginalized groups to joining nursing as a career.

Communication and collaboration in the multi-cultural workplace will advance service delivery as well as communication in hospitals.

Significance of improving nursing workforce is considered.

Recommendations on areas of improvement such as addressing challenges facing the nurses in their service delivery are given.

Recommendations on Improvement of Diversity within Nursing

  • More inclusive admission policies;
  • Hiring of more minority educators;
  • Mentoring and social support to minority students;
  • Removing of financial barriers;
  • Nursing programs tailored for minority groups.

Conclusion

If the national nursing body intends to remain strong and be the role model for the whole country, it has to provide education that will help all its citizens. It needs to embrace and acknowledge importance of a diverse workforce. As the nation gets more diverse, it increases the need to have a bigger representation of the minority in the American workforce. The Association of Colleges of Nursing in America has a credentialing body to ensure that practices are in line with required standards.

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Introduction

The nation as a whole is facing an increasing shortage of nurses, especially nurses from minority groups. There is a need to expand the nursing program admission and retention rates of nurses from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds (Robinson, 2000). In the recent years, most attention has been focused on the increasing shortage of registered nurses and financial and qualitative impacts of this shortage on the health care delivery. There has been less focus on the impact of narrowed nursing workforce. There is also less focus on the importance of improving diversity among student nurses as well as registered nurses. Diverse workforce is very important because nurses are the ones that interact with patients directly. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that nurses communicate with patients well. This communication could be enhanced if patients speak the same language and if nurses have background knowledge of different cultural attitudes and beliefs. For instance, when nurses understand different stereotypes and behaviors concerning nutrition, they stand a better chance of providing appropriate care for patients.

This report presents different ways of improving nursing diversity. It also provides information on the significance of having a diverse workforce. It gives different ways how the workforce could be improved through recruitment and retention of nursing talents. It also gives recommendations on the importance of students at different nursing schools working together with hospitals to improve service delivery. This work also presents information on impacts of nursing shortages due to challenges in the education pipeline and the review of the students’ diversity.

Problem Statement

With the current shortage of nurses, most hospitals hire new graduates and then invest a huge amount of resources into their training and orientation. Although there could be a high turnover of new graduates, most hospitals might not have the time to monitor retention of these newly hired students. Approximately 96 percent of hospitals hire new graduates despite the fact that they need additional education to support their training (Bednarz, Schim, & Doorenbos, 2010). Most of these hospitals provide extended programs to support their learning and orientation.

Due to inadequate education pipeline in most states, there is an influx of foreign nurses because of inadequacy of the national educational pipeline to meet the high demand for registered nurses from diverse communities. Therefore, to meet needs of different states in full, the nursing educational system requires major structural changes, which depends on actions stipulated by policy makers and the state. Through different nursing workforce initiatives, more hospitals have the capacity to expand the nursing educational pipeline and answer different questions on cultural and gender diversity for students applying for and enrolling into these programs.

Policy Options

Policy Option A: Workplace Recruitment and Retention for Minority Nurses

The nursing educational program needs to admit students from diverse communities if it has to achieve a more diverse nursing workforce. Leaders in the educational sector have to be accountable for preparing students and eventually ensuring that they graduate more registered nurses from the majority of minority groups. Nurses in the USA are caring for an increasingly diverse population. The total minority population is constantly increasing. Therefore, it is essential to have a nursing workforce that reflects the population of the US to deliver affordable quality care for all patients equally. Significance of promoting diversity in the workforce provides opportunity to provide care that will ensure patient satisfaction and their emotional wellbeing. Some patients feel safe when nurses are from their native speaking country.

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The positive impact of promoting diversity in the nursing workforce transcends clinical care in the areas of nursing education and clinical research. If the amount of minority students increases, it will address issues of nursing shortage and will be essential for preparing equal diverse nurse educators to teach future nurses. This is because the presence of nursing educators from the ethnic minority that matches the one of students brings different perspectives. The impact of cultural influence on the behavior of a person from a specific culture and, therefore, cultural difference in defining health and treatment are important. In addition, since the knowledge of specific cultural groups is gained through comparison of cross-cultural groups, ideas, customs, and useful traits are essential in promoting cross-cultural diversity.

Policy Option B: Communication and Teamwork in the Multi-cultural Workplace

From previous studies, it is evident that racial and ethnic minority groups have the likelihood of under representation. If given a choice, the majority of patients would select a health care professional of their own racial and ethnic background. In addition, minority healthcare providers have a higher likelihood of participating in community healthcare projects, which will be available for the low-income population. For example, in North Carolina, there are more nurses practicing in the public health clinics, long-term care centers, as well as mental facilities. Furthermore, since they share the similar language, minority providers in the workforce have the chance to bridge cultural language gaps in practice and in education. For instance, Latino nurses have helped bridge language gaps in many cases. This is because currently there is over 5% of the total population being Latinos, the majority of whom have limited English proficiency. The increase in the number of Spanish speaking nurses could improve services offered to them. This will address long-term existing cross-cultural issues and many other barriers. Presence of bilingual nurses in practice helps in eradicating barriers that could be harmful.

Because of ethnocentrism, a person tends to believe that they own a culture, which creates a problem between a nurse and clients belonging to different cultural groups. A program launched in line with the Healthy People 2020’s goal that aims to reduce and eliminate health disparities will be successful if proper understanding of diverse ethnic groups makes relevant contributions to minority groups (Xue & Brewer, 2014). As the society faces potential nursing deficiency, there is a need to consider the significance of including other groups in the workforce. Male nurses are also the minority and are underrepresented in the workforce. According to the US census bureau, the marginal population accounted for a third of all ethnic groups in the year 2012. With projections of the population growth, ethnic and racial marginal groups can become majority groups by 2043. The need to attract a diverse group and recruit more minority groups will improve service delivery. There are only few nurses with an advanced nursing degree from minority groups. According to a survey carried out by the AACN, 12.3% of full-time faculty has the minority background with only 5.4% of them being from the male population (Xue & Brewer, 2014).

Policy Option C: Increasing Minority Faculty and Researchers

To achieve a more diverse nursing workforce, it is essential to recruit a diverse community of students. This means ensuring representation from racial minority groups in nursing programs. Ideally, the recruitment process should start by reaching out to the underrepresented population, while is still in elementary school. Through mentorship and advice, these students could finally choose to explore careers in nursing as they would be advised on classes that could be beneficial for them. Leaders of the nursing workforce have addressed this problem though partially, especially in North Carolina, through setting up funds that will facilitate expansion and enhancement of outreach programs. This program targets minority groups as well as the male population (Xue, 2015). The funds are tied to meeting a certain performance threshold, targeting specifically African Americans and the Hispanic population.

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The public campaign ensures that any individual interested in the nursing career and advancement of their educational opportunities following their entry to the professional body can ask for assistance. In addition, this taskforce also provides recommendations that high school and university guidance and counseling departments receive additional training to ensure that they guide students appropriately towards selection of their long-term career goals. Furthermore, having diverse student’s body and workforce has a high chance of improving training for all students. Interaction of these students will eventually provide a diverse perspective of racial and ethnic cultural differences. Therefore, reaching out to ethnic and racial minorities helps broaden the pool of potential nurses. It helps in creating a sense of mutual existence and chances for all, hence narrowing the health disparity gap and promoting health for every individual.

Significance in Improving Diversity in Nursing

Culture has a huge impact on perceptions and behaviors of specific cultural groups. Issues that come with cultural differences in defining treatment options are rooted in ethnocentricity. This is a situation when an individual believes that his or her culture is superior to another person’s culture. This belief is often unconscious and concerns every aspect of day-to-day life, which includes healthcare. It is a serious problem between healthcare providers and clients from diverse groups. Historically, minority groups have had difficult time accessing quality education programs. Black students were denied admission to all white programs. They were only given admission to black colleges, which historically produced a disproportionate proportion of African American nurses.

To achieve the goal of having a diverse workforce, it is important for institutions to embrace admission of a more diverse workforce. Institutions should also embrace strategies that would help improve students’ records and hence increase the number of students graduating from these institutions. Nursing leaders have established a strong connection between a culturally diverse group and their ability to provide culturally high quality patient care. Although in the past the nursing recruitment group has made progress in recruiting graduate nurses, the patient population has to be taken into consideration to ensure that representation becomes a reality. There is a significant need to attract students from ethnic marginalized groups, especially men, according to projections of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Apart from adding male nurses to the workforce, having nurses from various backgrounds will improve service delivery to diverse patients. The culturally diverse workforce is essential for meeting healthcare needs of the nation, whilst reducing disparities that exist among minority populations. The fact that the nation’s health professionals have not kept pace with the changing demographics could be potentially a huge cause for the increasing diversity with access to healthcare facilities. This could also be attributed to a persistent increase in the lack of healthcare insurance amongst many Americans. The lack of inclusion of minority groups has left most Americans feeling excluded, seemingly uncaring, and distant.

Recommendations on Improvement of Diversity within Nursing

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More Inclusive Admission Policies

Rather than having institutions rely on standardized tests, traditional white educational programs have to consider the use of additional methods for admitting students to nursing programs. This is because most minority students have a higher likelihood of obtaining their education from a lower school, which has fewer educational opportunities. Therefore, they tend to score lower in standardized tests as compared to the whites and the Asian population. In addition, the admissions body needs to consider other factors linked with professional qualifications. These factors include leadership capabilities, personal life experiences, and commitment to service the community. They should also consider multilingual abilities when sitting on the committee for admission of various students to nursing institutions.

Diversity can exist based on the birthplace, migratory history, culture, and educational background. Diversity can also be attributed to employment skills and opportunities, as well as differences in lifestyle, gender, and socio-economic status. Ignoring diversity due to the lack of incongruent nursing care has the potential of influencing patient outcomes. Some nursing actions could be affected by the lack of proper communication. Some patients feel more secure with people from their culture. They feel that they belong and are secure amidst people from their culture. Nurses that are overly confident and do not conduct routine cultural assessment of their patients have the potential of causing devastating results.

Hire more Minority Educators

The nursing teaching body should ensure that they hire more minority nursing educators and expand programs in learning institutions that are attuned to needs of individuals from minority groups. Nationally, less than 10% of all nursing educators come from minority ethnic groups (Bednarz et al., 2010). This suggests a critical need of increasing the number of nurses in the educational sector. Furthermore, all nursing educators need to be more responsive to needs of minority groups irrespective of their racial and ethnic backgrounds. This is because admissions to nursing schools consider assorted factors. It is therefore imperative to sensitize the white faculty of needs of alternative students and to support visiting professors on campuses with more diverse student populations.

The lack of minority nursing educators sends the signal that the carrier does not offer a ladder for career opportunities, especially for individuals from minority groups. The majority of students are looking for academic role models to encourage them and help them grow in their careers, but their efforts are frustrated by the lack of mentors from their community to support them. Therefore, professional leaders have worked to address the need by identifying policies and recruitment strategies, which will encourage leadership development to help them grow. The programs have been tailored to remove barriers to accessing faculty careers in order for the latter to be embraced by individuals from minority groups.

Mentoring and Social Support for Minority Students

More students from underrepresented communities need be admitted to the program rather than admitting one or two students into the program. Nursing schools should also provide academic and social support and educational counseling services to ensure academic success and . Understanding of the importance of diversity in nursing is vital as it can strengthen and broaden healthcare delivery. This is because inclusion of other cultural groups provides the avenue through which other cultures can get a range of services such as conceptualization of the illness and eventual improvement of treatment modalities. This is because different cultures use traditional healthcare and it should be identified and respected. Therefore, culture is one of the strong pillars that build up nursing as it helps in understanding how different cultural groups define health and illness.

It is important for a nurse to consider specific cultural factors influencing individual clients because each nurse has a rich cultural heritage and philosophical views of their education and professional settings. Patients need choices of cultural relevant care providers. Recognition of cultural knowledge and acting in a culturally appropriate manner enable a nurse to be effective in assessment of patients’ needs and serving as a clients’ advocate. Therefore, the AACN in collaboration with other funding agencies has initiated the Doctoral Advancement in Nursing project. This project has helped to enhance the number of minority nurses completing their PHD and has come up with programs to improve student recruitment and retention programs. They have also developed programs to improve leadership and development of student’s role models for the doctoral curriculum. This program has developed tools to guide students to gaining entry to doctoral programs.

Removing of Financial Barriers

The majority of minority students comes from low-income families and suffers from the cost of education. Therefore, scholarships, loan forgiveness, and assistance are essential to aid low-income students of any racial or ethnic backgrounds to pay for their education. Other strategies could involve eradication of unnecessary hurdles for students wishing to pursue nursing education. These hurdles include racial stereotypes and curricula that could be inclusive for all individuals irrespective of their educational background or racial origin. Hospitals can support local nursing schools through provision of funds, educationally, and supporting educational programs. Long-term and short-term collaboration is essential in ensuring that communities receive health services that they need. Although long-term resolutions concerning the nursing workforce shortage need to be addressed further, hospitals and nursing schools have to formulate collaborative programs to increase cultural diversity within their workforce.

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Nursing Programs Tailored for Minority Groups

These recommendations on improvement of diversity of the nursing workforce are good; however, they will not be able to address all problems at hand singularly. The National Centre for Nurses should, therefore, go ahead and create nursing programs tailored for minority groups. Funds should be available for outreach to and recruitment of these students to these programs. Furthermore, they could also develop partnerships with local community leaders to help in the creation of a positive image of institutions. To ensure accountability and success of the program, nursing educational programs that receive these funds need to be accountable on the way the funds are managed. There is a need to show positive results and increase admission rate of minority students into the programs.

Conclusion

If the national nursing body intends to remain strong and be the role model to the whole country, it has to provide education that will help all its citizens. It needs to embrace and acknowledge the importance of a diverse workforce. This is because proficiency in relating to cultures different from the one of the majority has become one of the strong forces in the current century. This is because success of students from diverse communities means success of the state at large. It is important to narrow gaps between different races as students that learn together are more likely to work together without any problems. This is because diversity improves chances of individuals working successfully together through expansion of the individual’s capacity to survive in a more diverse environment of patients. In order to achieve a diverse and culturally competent workforce, long-term coordination and implementation of strategies by policy makers are required.

As the nation gets more diverse, it increases the need to have a bigger representation of minorities in the American workforce. The Association of Colleges of Nursing in America has a credentialing body to ensure that practices are in line with required standards. This is because of a strong connection between the nursing profession and their ability to provide high quality patients care. In this case, inclusion of students from the minority groups like the blacks, Asians, American Indians, and the Hispanics is important because, according to the national census predictions, these minority groups will be majority groups by 2042. Besides, having a diverse workforce increases excellence of healthcare thanks to having ethnically diverse service providers. It also promotes transformation in the healthcare system as healthcare providers will be able to offer nursing services to individuals culturally similar to them. They will therefore appreciate more their cultural and responsive needs.

With the increasing minority population, most attention is paid to the lack of diversity amongst healthcare professionals. The majority of hospitals employ fresh graduates and put in many resources to train them through orientation programs. However, most hospitals do not follow up on the statistics of retention of these professional groups. Therefore, this article is crucial as it emphasizes importance of retention of graduating nurses and improvement of diversity among nurses in institutions of learning and in the workforce.