DiversityNursing Blog

Erica Bettencourt

Content Manager and Social Media Specialist

Recent Posts

Culturally Competent Care For LGBTQ Patients

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Apr 20, 2018 @ 02:25 PM

sc-fam-lgbtq-health-care-0220Healthcare organizations strive to provide culturally competent care for individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ). Recent changes in society, including the legalization of gay marriage have raised public awareness of LGBTQ issues. Yet many healthcare professionals lack knowledge in some areas when caring for LGBTQ patients.

As a gay man who is raising a young son with his husband, Michael Johnson, PhD, RN, understands the barriers faced by LGBTQ patients and the assumption often made by nurses and other healthcare professionals that all patients are heterosexual.

“Some members of the LGBTQ community avoid seeking healthcare services because of previous negative experiences in which they faced discrimination,” said Johnson, an assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Nursing. “Studies have shown most LGBTQ patients want to be able to share their sexual orientation or gender identity with their healthcare provider, but are often reluctant to open up because they fear they may be treated badly or even refused care."

LGBTQ individuals have a long history of discrimination at the individual and institutional levels, including the healthcare system. They may check to see if the environment is a safe place to reveal personal information, especially about sexuality. Some things an individual may take note of during their time in your waiting room area include:

  • Your organization’s nondiscrimination policy: Is it in a visible location?
  • A rainbow flag, pink triangle, or other symbol of inclusiveness
  • Availability of unisex restrooms
  • Health education literature with diverse images and inclusive language, including information about LGBTQ health
  • Posters announcing days of observance such as World AIDS Day, Pride, and National Transgender Day of Remembrance

To understand LGBTQ populations and their health needs, it is important to first define the distinct core concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity. You can read about key LGBTQ terms here.

LGBTQ health requires specific attention from health care and public health professionals to address a number of disparities, including:

  • LGBT youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to attempt suicide.
  • LGBT youth are more likely to be homeless.
  • Lesbians are less likely to get preventive services for cancer.
  • Gay men are at higher risk of HIV and other STDs, especially among communities of color.
  • Lesbians and bisexual females are more likely to be overweight or obese.
  • Transgender individuals have a high prevalence of HIV/STDs, victimization, mental health issues, and suicide and are less likely to have health insurance than heterosexual or LGB individuals.
  • Elderly LGBT individuals face additional barriers to health because of isolation and a lack of social services and culturally competent providers.
  • LGBT populations have the highest rates of tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use.
 
lgbtq quote
Nurses should avoid asking any unnecessary questions. People are sometimes curious about LGBTQ people and their lives, which can lead them to want to learn more by asking the patient questions. However, like everyone else, LGBTQ people want to keep their medical and personal lives private. Before asking any personal questions, first ask yourself: “Is my question necessary for the patient’s care, or am I asking it for my own curiosity?" If for your own curiosity, it is not appropriate to ask. Think instead about: “What do I know? What do I need to know? How can I ask for the information I need to know in a sensitive way?"

Effectively serving LGBTQ patients requires you to understand the cultural context of their lives, and to modify your procedures, behavior, and language to be inclusive, non-judgmental, and helpful at all times. By doing this, healthcare staff can help ensure that LGBTQ patients receive the level of care that everyone deserves. What helpful information can you add regarding this topic?

sign up for newsletter

Topics: LGBTQ, LGBTQ Healthcare, cultural competency, LGBTQ health disparities, culturally competent care

Improving Nursing Engagement

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Apr 16, 2018 @ 10:38 AM

nurseengagement

Nursing engagement is the commitment level and satisfaction you have for your job and the organization that employs you. Nursing engagement correlates directly with safety, quality, and patient experience outcomes. In fact, research conducted by Gallup found that it’s a primary factor in determining healthcare quality and preventing complications. It’s also found to be the number one predictor of mortality variation across hospitals.

Change is a constant in the healthcare environment, and employees’ needs change as new generations with different attitudes, values, and beliefs join the workforce. Leaders must view employee engagement as an ongoing journey that demands intentional interventions. During the past decade, healthcare agencies have experienced unusually low turnover, but this is changing, and turnover rates are beginning to increase. Engaging and retaining staff is a high priority. Below are a few ways to improve employee engagement.

Value

Leaders must create a positive work environment where employees feel valued and supported. It is essential to provide support such as material, human, and emotional resources. Genuinely acknowledge the significance and complexity of the work provided by caregivers. Recognition does not always have to involve rewards. Effective recognition can be as simple as showing empathy or acknowledgment in a sincere way such as a statement like “I understand what you went through today.”

Team-building Activities

Nursing is a stressful field. Working with the same group of people every day in a stressful environment can lead to conflict. Organizing team building activities helps staff blow off steam in a healthy manner. Having a department-specific holiday party, summer picnic, cookie exchange, etc. are just a few things that help promote teamwork while having fun.

Be Available

Skillful leaders are visible, available, and approachable in the workplace. Effective leaders engage with staff, patients, and families—not  to check up on employees, but rather to genuinely interact and converse and to be available to team members. Many managers proclaim to have an open-door policy, which generally refers to extending an open invitation for employees to visit and share ideas with the manager in his or her office. However, a better way to view this policy is to have the manager open the door and walk through it on his or her way to spending meaningful time in the workplace to build goodwill and engage with staff.

Work/Life Balance

The work you do is meaningful and purposeful. Much of what you do in healthcare is task oriented and checklist driven. Caregivers need to be reminded frequently that what they do is important and impacts the lives of their patients and their families in ways that they may never know. You want to leave work a “good tired” - that is, tired from a long day, but knowing you gave your patients excellent care and feeling good about that care when you finish your shift. When you begin to experience burnout or compassion fatigue, leaders must intervene quickly and appropriately.
 
Engaged Nurses are committed to their peers, workplace, and delivering the best patient care. We welcome any stories or comments you’d like to share on this subject.

 sign up for newsletter

Topics: nurse engagement, nursing engagement

Life After Retiring As A Nurse

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, Apr 10, 2018 @ 09:53 AM

retireSome retired Nurses have a difficult time figuring out what to do with their new free schedule. There are those who are looking forward to permanently taking time off from work. They’ve been waiting for this time to finally relax, take it easy, and indulge in hobbies.

Some Nurses, on the other hand, prefer to continue some type of work or activities after retirement. Here are some job ideas for the retired Nurse who still wants to work a little bit.

reviewer for Nursing Licensure Exams

To be considered a full-fledged registered Nurse you need to pass the Licensure exam. Being a reviewer comes with flexible hours and good pay. Not only that, you gets to help out a new generation of Nurses fulfill their dreams of being professional nurses.

Freelance Nursing Writer

Nursing writers create content for test prep courses, instructional manuals, and other training materials. If you're interested in this sort of work, other terms to search for are, Nurse Certification Writers, Nurse Research Writers, Learning Development Writers, and Medical Writers.

Teach Health Classes In Schools

Nurses teaching health classes in high schools is common. They know the topic and have first-hand experience with actual cases and are just about the most qualified in teaching subjects like sex education and nutrition.

This can be a very rewarding job for a retired Nurse since he or she doesn’t need to take on fully loaded schedules and can also work part-time in the school clinic.

School or summer camp nurse

Nurses who love kids couldn’t ask for a better position. Schools and summer camps often hire RNs to provide basic care for their staff and students. They will avoid the hectic atmosphere of hospitals but still practice their medical skills in an energized environment.

Nurse Educator

Many opportunities exist for Nurse educators outside of the hospital setting. Common settings for Nurse educators include medical device manufacturing companies, community clinics and government offices, pharmaceutical companies, research facilities, textbook publishing companies, and, of course, colleges and universities. The opportunities are rapidly expanding due to the growth of online jobs, and the possibilities for self-employment.

Nurse Bill Auditor

Perform audits of medical records to identify over-payments/underpayments. Must be a licensed RN with excellent communication skills, 3+ years’ clinical experience, and at least one year of reviewing/auditing experience. Mostly remote, freelance role.

There are many opportunities for Nurses thanks to all the life skills and experiences that the profession provides. So long as you keep your eyes peeled and your spirit positive, the right opportunity will come your way.

Topics: retirement, retiring nurse, retired nurse

Nurse Educators Are Needed To Battle Nursing Shortage

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Apr 02, 2018 @ 02:12 PM

nurseeducator

We all know there’s been a Nursing shortage for years, but are you aware there’s also an issue with Nurse Educators? Existing Nurses aren’t going into education, according to www.marketplace.org. “I find that teaching challenges me as a provider because I always have to stay on top of what’s new and what’s best, but I would love to teach more, but there are a lot of disincentives to do that,” said Anna Kent, a certified Nurse Practitioner who works as a midwife in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

“Unless you really have a passion and a desire to be a Nurse educator, we don’t see people migrating to that field, because of the pay,” said Ron Moore, the recently retired vice president for Nursing at Charleston Area Medical Center. Moore said without qualified Nursing faculty to teach the people who want to be in a Nursing program, states like West Virginia aren’t going to be able graduate enough Nurses to meet the needs of its aging population. “So without an adequate workforce, hospitals can’t function to their capacity."

Nursing shortages are forcing hospitals to close beds, hire temporary Nurses at great expense to fill the gap and possibly provide less than optimal care to patients.

According to Benedictine University, with the amount of Nurses approaching retirement, there are a variety of concerns that there will not be enough Nursing professionals to fill this void. Demographic changes and the aging population are expected to become more serious as Nursing demands grow. Individual’s lifespans are increasing and require more attention to long-term care. Nurses educators are sought after for guidance and teaching to prepare seniors for long-term home care and educate future Nurses who will be the care providers.

“The average age of a Nurse is around 50,” says Dr. Knestrick. “It’s estimated that over 50% of Nurses that are practicing are over the age of 50. This means that within 10 to 20 years they will be retiring from Nursing, which will further add to the shortage.”

In some states, there are already strategies in place to address the shortage of Nurse educators. According to indeed.com, the Nurses for Wisconsin initiative provides fellowships and loan forgiveness for future Nurse faculty who agree to teach in the state after graduation. Some Nursing schools have formed strategic partnerships to help boost student capacity. The University of Minnesota has partnered with the Minnesota VA Health Care System to expand enrollment in the schools Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing program.

Nursing programs should emphasize the invaluable role of Nurse faculty, step up recruitment efforts for the next generation of Nurse faculty and provide Nursing education tracks that address the healthcare needs of today’s multicultural and growing society.

New Call-to-action 

Topics: Nurse Educators

Traits Every Great Nurse Has

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Mar 23, 2018 @ 09:19 AM

qualities.jpg

What makes a good Nurse? What are the qualities of terrific Nurses? The Nursing profession is about kindness and caring for the whole person as well as medical, emotional and technical knowledge, and so much more. Below are a few traits that make Nurses so great!
 

Good Communication

Communication is essential to patient safety, health and well-being. As you are at the center of patient care, it is your responsibility to facilitate dialog. As you care for older and more culturally diverse populations, you will need to strengthen your communication skills. Without strong communication skills, serious errors can occur.
 

Emotional stability

As you know, Nursing is a stressful job where traumatic situations are common. The ability to accept suffering and death without letting it get personal is crucial. Some days can seem like non-stop gloom and doom. There are heartwarming moments like helping a patient recover, reuniting families, or bonding with fellow Nurses. But those moments are less common than the tougher situations. So remember to take care of YOU too so you can handle the inevitable crises.
 

Empathy

Empathy is a complex emotion and can be a complex concept while working with many patients who have different kinds of needs. Responding with empathy requires the ability to put yourself in your patient’s shoes, see situations from their perspective and demonstrate that you understand their feelings and are reading them accurately. Most importantly, it requires you to act on that understanding in appropriate and therapeutic ways.
 

Attention to detail

Paying attention to minute details is important in the Nursing profession, especially when you have a lot on your plate. You must document everything you do on patients’ charts, listen closely to their description of symptoms, ask the right questions, and remember to bring medications at appropriate times. It’s critical to remember even the smallest detail amidst all of the commotion. At the end of the day, one small slip-up could become a fatal mistake.
 

Physical Endurance

You encounter many patients with lifestyle-related disorders. With this in mind, a basic understanding of the role physical fitness plays in prevention and rehabilitation is key. You can be a positive influence on patients who have to make life­style choices if they see you’ve made good choices. If you stay fit, you not only feel good, you’re a great role model for your patients.
 
Physical fitness improves your ability to effectively perform the physical tasks you do every day. One study of 146 Registered Nurses, over a 12-hour shift, found they covered an average of 4 to 5 miles per shift. I’m sure you’re not surprised by this information!
 

Desire to continue learning

Medical knowledge and technology are advancing rapidly. As a great Nurse, you know the importance of working on your professional development and skills, and learning new things.
 

SENSE OF HUMOR

This is imperative! A joke and a few laughs can take the edge off of a tough day and…it feels good. Need we say more?
 
It takes many great qualities to be a good and effective Nurse. What are traits you would add to this list? Please comment below!

New Call-to-action

Topics: nursing traits, nurse qualities, qualities of a nurse

Technology Trends Are The Future For Healthcare

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Mar 15, 2018 @ 11:22 AM

Future-of-Healthcare.jpgWhen it comes to healthcare, technology is not only convenient, but also life-saving. It is also constantly changing. We compiled a list of tech trends you should expect to see in the near future.

telehealth

Telehealth is the use of digital information and communication technologies, such as computers and mobile devices, to access health care services remotely and patients can manage their health care. They can use an online patient portal to see their test results, schedule appointments, request prescription refills or email their doctor. 

Virtual appointments enable them to see their doctor or Nurse via online live video. These appointments let them receive ongoing care when an in-person visit isn't required or possible. These web-based "visits" can also be used for minor illnesses, similar to the services available at a drop-in clinic. 

Health care chat bots

Chat bots can help patients with a number of things such as book appointments, remind them to take their pills or assist them in refilling their prescriptions. Here are a few examples of health care chat bots and what they do.

  • Florence — this chatbot Nurse tells patients to take their medicine, gives them instructions if they forgot to take a pill, monitors their health (and periods for women) and can help them find specialists and book appointments in their area.
  • Your. MD — it replaces the assistant of a GP, asks about symptoms and puts enough questions approved by health professionals to identify a condition probabilistically then sets up appointments, referring patients to physicians.
  • Safedrugbot — this messaging app helps doctors take notice of possible side effects of drugs during breastfeeding and helps to keep mothers safe.
  • Babylon Health — another conversational healthcare assistant with the feature of booking a doctor.
  • SimSensei — still in its experimental phase, it uses voice and face recognition to mimic a therapist, also interacting with the patient at deeper levels.

Smart Beds

Smart beds are continuing to gain popularity. For example, the Stryker S3 bed is a popular acute care/MedSurg that many hospitals use currently. The Stryker safety solution is called iBed. iBed allows the user to set up conditions for the settings on the bed and if the bed is set outside those parameters, visual indicators notify the user that the bed must be put back to the safest condition for that patient. Also, the beds are set up to be wireless, removing the need to remember to plug the bed into the wall and no more damaged 37-pin connectors. The bed is loaded with sensors including weight, brake, rails, and head-of-bed angle. This makes bed related patient safety easy requiring very little upkeep.

Patient and Staff identification systems

Patient and staff identifiers in the hospital setting have become increasingly important in light of patient mix-ups and unauthorized people entering a facility or accessing patient records.

According to an article by Americanmobile.com, "Bar codes, wristbands and radio frequency identification (RFID), all work to track and identify patients in an effort to reduce errors while also keeping the hospital population safe. New palm vein technology, eye scans and microchips have also been introduced as a way to identify both patients and healthcare professionals, and to cut down on unauthorized access to patient files."

Digital Patient Room Whiteboards

Interactive Digital Whiteboards integrate with a hospital’s real-time location services. It provides patients with their daily schedule, introduces staff as they walk into the room and logs which clinicians visited the patient.

According to NewYork-Presbyterian, "patient electronic boards digitize and improve upon traditional whiteboards. Instead of requiring providers to erase and re-write any new information, the boards integrate with the patient’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR) data to display any updates as they happen. Patients and providers can immediately see accurate pain scores, fall risks, and scheduled tests, and family members can see important phone numbers. The boards display data visually wherever possible, including pictures of a patient’s entire care team in real time.

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing is another revolutionary step in healthcare, allowing patients and medical professionals to increase accessibility. Without waiting long for a doctor’s appointment, patients can view their health outcomes through the cloud. It is expected that 60% of communication with the healthcare providers and facilities will be done through mobile devices.
 
Patients record filing on paper is outdated and a thing of the past. Doctors and hospitals are now storing patient records on the cloud, allowing patients to access medical records and results 24/7.

Personalized medicine

Precision medicine will become a demand from patients, says Mike Monteiro, Chief Product Officer at Aspire Ventures. "Patients' tolerance for one-size-fits-all diagnoses and therapies is reaching a breaking point, and soon patients will demand that data be taken into account by doctors." 

How do you feel about the impact technology has on healthcare? Do you use any of these in your work place? If so, do you think it positively or negatively effects your work? Please share your comments below! 

Patient and Staff Identification Systems

Topics: medical technology, health care technology

Tips For Staying Healthy As A Nurse

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, Mar 06, 2018 @ 12:06 PM

health.jpg

Nurses are committed to caring for their patients, but unfortunately many struggle to take care of themselves. In fact, Nurses are more likely to be overweight, have higher levels of stress and get less than the recommended hours of sleep. Delivering health care is a stressful role, both physically and mentally. Therefore, it is imperative you take your own health into consideration.
 
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Nurses and health care workers experience the highest rate of non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses of any sectors, including construction. As mentioned, both your mental and physical health are important. Here are some tips to help you improve your overall health.

Find a work buddy

In any job, especially Nursing, it’s easier to cope with emotional stress when you have a work buddy to help you through tough shifts. You can vent to your friend, share your frustrations and they understand what you're going through. If you haven’t found your best friend at work yet, don’t worry, you will.

Eat well

Most Nurses work in a fast-paced environment and are often short on time, which can lead to relying on fast food that is high in fat, sodium, sugar, and additives. Look for ways to add more lean proteins, fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Try meal prepping for the week.

Meditate or find a quiet space

Try to find peace for at least 10 minutes in a quiet room or in a quiet place outside with no electronic distractions. Ten minutes of quiet is longer than you think, but you'll feel more refreshed afterwards. Just take a moment to focus on breathing and calming positive thoughts to boost you through draining times.

Sleep
 
You know it's important to get sufficient sleep prior to your shift, but it’s not always easy to get it. Do your best to get your sleep because many bad things happen when you don’t sleep properly. You might overeat, feel unhappy and impatient, your energy levels will slowly deplete, and it’s possible you could make mistakes. For night shift workers who need to sleep during the day, try using ear plugs to drown out noise and face masks to block the light. White noise machines could be helpful too.
 
Exercise
 
Some jobs require you to sit for long periods at a computer, so try standing every hour for a few minutes. Walk up and down a flight of stairs, stretch your legs and find workouts tailored for long shifts.
 
What do you do to stay healthy? We'd love to hear your ideas and tips as they could be helpful to your colleagues. Please comment below!

 

Topics: healthy lifestyle

Mentorship Shapes The Future of Nursing

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Feb 21, 2018 @ 02:02 PM

ROADTRIP.pngMentors are there for experience-based guidance and honest advice. In some areas up to 60% of new Nurses leave their first position and some leave the Nursing profession entirely within two years. A stressful work environment combined with a lack of support from fellow Nurses can make it difficult to transition from Nursing school to the professional ranks of Nursing. Nurses should use mentors as a resource. Not only when they have a problem but in any stage, whether they are aspiring to take on a new role, grow in their current role, or become a stronger leader.

Mentoring a fellow Nurse takes leadership skills and experience, of course, but also much more. According to Dale Beatty, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, Standford Health Care’s Chief Nursing Officer and Vice-President of Patient Care Services, there are basic core values that mentors need to have: honesty, integrity, trust, and confidentiality. A mentee should be able to trust their mentor enough to be vulnerable with them, and the mentor should foster that environment of safety and trust. 

Mentors have much to gain personally and professionally by helping new Nurses adjust to their role.  While Nurse mentors are helping people understand and practice the standards of Nursing, they are also reviewing the processes and procedures and are in a position to facilitate changes or make improvements if needed.  Also, inexperienced Nurses will have been exposed to the newest technologies and trending issues and can give a different perspective to the experienced Nurse who might not be as exposed to these current developments.

Have you ever thought you could be a better leader or manager than the person who was in charge? You should seriously consider being a mentor. When mentoring others, you are actively working on your coaching, communication, and leadership skills.  Working with different individuals from various backgrounds helps you to develop the relatable skills necessary to handle many personality types.  Being a mentor first is a great way to find out if management is something you want your future to evolve into.

Magnet Program Director Anita Girard, DNP, RN, NEA-BC said, "For student Nurses and recent graduate Nurses, a mentor is a resource that could help guide them to their future careers and shape them along the way, but figuring out where to find one is the first step. A great place to start is to visit websites for state Nursing associations and student Nursing associations. Additionally, getting involved in professional organizations can help, since these are usually full of Nurse leaders that could be potential mentors.

Becoming a mentor is a big decision to make.  While the personal and professional benefits far outweigh the challenges, mentoring has to be something you are emotionally and professionally ready to handle. 

Have you ever been a mentor or mentee?  We would love to hear your stories! Please share your experiences in the comment section below.

New Call-to-action

Topics: Mentor Programs, mentoring, Nursing mentor

Inspiring A Future of More Latino Nurses

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Feb 09, 2018 @ 09:45 AM

WorkingNurse_Recruiting_More_Hispanic_Nurses.jpgDiversity in the Nursing field is necessary to progress health equity and improve patient outcomes. As a result of efforts in recent years, the Nursing workforce today is more diverse than it was a decade ago, but there is still work to be done. The goal is to have a health workforce that mirrors the nation’s diverse population.

“Latinos make up 17.3 percent of the U.S. population,” said Norma Cuellar, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor of Nursing at The University of Alabama, director of the BAMA-Latino Project, and president-elect of NAHN. “Unfortunately, as the number of Latinos continue to rise, the number of Latino RNs does not. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, there are about 2.9 million RNs in the country, and just three percent are identified as Latinos. This results in a failure to provide culturally congruent care, language barriers, and health disparities in the Latino population.”

As the principal investigator over the NIH-SEPA grant, Angie Millan, RN, DNP, FAAN, NAHN project director and the Nursing director of Children’s Medical Services for the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health, aims to inform new generations of Latinos to consider Nursing as a worthy and rewarding career, and provide the guidance, support and resources needed to achieve Nursing career aspirations.

“The Hispanic community is very young, with an average age of around 26, and our numbers continue to increase,” Angie said. “However, the number of Hispanic Nurses is not keeping up with the growth.  We need help in communicating with parents, students, teachers, and counselors that Nursing is a great career, and that to be prepared, students need to know the math and science requirements.”

Teri Murray, Ph.D., dean of the School of Nursing at Saint Louis University said, “Racially diverse students, from populations currently underrepresented in Nursing, will be paired with peer mentors, faculty mentors and seasoned Nurse mentors who are out working in the field. “Mentoring has been shown to be effective for students from underrepresented backgrounds in serving as role models, assisting students to navigate college life and the profession, and in general showing the student the ropes,” Murray told the American.

2018 marks the fourth year of the NAHN Hispanics in Nursing campaign to increase the number of Hispanic Nurses, which is made possible through a grant received from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Science Education Partnership (SEPA). In addition to providing information about which classes to take in high school to prepare for Nursing prerequisites and highlighting the profiles of Latino Nurse role models, the campaign also provides access to Mentors Connection, a database of Latino Nurses who can provide career guidance, advice, and cultural perspective to prospective Nurses.

“It is imperative that we encourage these Latino students not only to obtain their degree in nursing, but to pursue advanced degrees. There is a dire need to increase the number of Latino nurses who are academically prepared to be leaders in a variety of healthcare roles,” said Dr. Cuellar. “In this ever-changing healthcare landscape, it’s more important than ever for Latino nurses to have a seat at the table. We have to be leaders in nursing, and we have to be the voice for the Latino population.”

Topics: diversity in nursing, diversity in healthcare, latino nurses

First Generation College Students Face Barriers

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Feb 05, 2018 @ 12:05 PM

imfirst_rgb_300.jpgFirst generation college students (FGCS) face many obstacles which affects enrollment and graduation rates. Some barriers include lack of college readiness, familial support, financial stability, racial under representation, low academic self-esteem, and difficulty adjusting to college.

A National Center for Education Statistics study found that among students whose parents had completed high school, 54 percent enrolled in college immediately after graduation, while only 36 percent of students whose parents had less than a high school diploma immediately entered college. 

Students with at least one parent who attended college are nearly twice as likely to graduate as first-generation students, according to a long-term study by the National Center for Education Statistics released in 2015.

Racial under representation is a difficult barrier. 20% of first generation college students do not consider English as their first language. Household income is another. The median annual household income for students whose parents earned a degree is just shy of six figures at $99,635. For first generation students, this number plummets to $37,565.

In recent years, colleges have become aware that students with sparse financial resources and thin networks of adult support can struggle to adjust to campus life, with many failing to earn a degree.

First-generation students may feel uncomfortable in the collegiate atmosphere. They may come from a different cultural background or have different levels of college preparation than their peers. Reasons for limited communication and interactions among peers and faculty include the absence of similar interests, experiences, and resources. These differences contribute to low levels of academic self-esteem and difficulty adjusting to the college setting.

Bernadotte is trying to ensure that first-generation, low-income, and minority students avoid the pitfalls she faced getting through college. She founded Beyond 12, a nonprofit that uses technology to work with high schools and colleges, helping coach students, track their progress and ensure that they earn their degrees. 

Beyond 12, tracks about 50,000 students, alerting them via an app to deadlines for course registration or financial aid applications, connecting them with campus resources, and ensuring that their grades and classes are appropriate. It has also coached, in-person or online, about 2,000 students on 180 campuses, many of them on the West Coast. A handful of charter schools in Boston and Dartmouth College have also tested out the platform.

Using apps like Beyond 12 is one way to help overcome obstacles, here are a few other tips that may make a difference in your college experience.

Take Advantage of Campus Offices: For FCGS, adjusting to college can be difficult. Students can be unsure of financial responsibilities, academic expectations, and social involvement/activities, which can not only be discouraging, but it can also be intimidating. So use the resources provided to make sure you're up to date on everything you may need to know.

Don’t Be Ashamed to Live On A Budget: It's not uncommon that college students are broke. It is not a secret that college can be expensive, so don’t feel bad when you see your friends going out to movies or bars on the weekends while you are staying home.  You need to  remember what you are in college for. You're there to get an education and to hopefully set yourself up for a great and successful future.

Get Involved: Being a FGCS, you may feel like you don't fit in with other students on campus due to financial differences, social differences, and/or differences in ethnicity or religion. Your thoughts and feelings about not fitting in are not unique to you, but are shared by so many people on campus. You will find more people that share things in common with you than you would believe. So check out organizations and clubs on campus that tap into your interests and you will not only make new friends, but you will also be able to fully take in the college experience.

Were you a first generation college student? What was your experience like? We would love to hear from you! Comment below!

sign up for newsletter

Topics: first generation college students

Click me

Article or Blog Submissions

If you are interested in submitting content for our Blog, please ensure it fits the criteria below:
  • Relevant information for Nurses
  • Does NOT promote a product
  • Informative about Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence

Agreement to publish on our DiversityNursing.com Blog is at our sole discretion.

Thank you

Subscribe to Email our eNewsletter

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all