DiversityNursing Blog

FNU Makes Diversity in Nursing a Reality

Posted by Frontier Nursing University

Tue, Sep 25, 2018 @ 11:59 AM

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With maternal mortality and morbidity rates that are worse than any other developing country in the world, America’s need for more diverse and culturally-conscious health care providers is urgent.

Many nursing institutions preach “diversity,” but schools like Frontier Nursing University (FNU) are achieving it through programming, initiatives and partnerships with like-minded organizations.

Each year, FNU hosts its Diversity Impact Student Conference. In its eighth year, the conference is hosted by students and faculty leaders in FNU’s PRIDE Program, which was established to promote recruitment and retention to increase diversity in Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse Practitioner education.

FNU has put the “impact” in Diversity Impact, especially in this year’s event. With a theme entitled “We Are One: Uniting Dreamers with Diverse Voices,” presenters at this year’s four-day conference spoke on mental health and cultural care, transcultural nursing and the current state of mortality rates in the African American community.

Each student who attended was given opportunity to not only listen to an impactful keynote, but also to participate in a culturally eye-opening field trip, cross-cultural communication exercise, and collaborative discussions to improve minority health among underrepresented and marginalized groups.

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These powerful conversations ranged in topic from environmentally-sustainable healthcare to mental health in patient and police interactions, to vulnerable populations and sexual IQ risk reduction. Each year at Diversity Impact, attendees walk away with proactive solutions to create meaningful connections and provide better care within diverse communities.

In addition to its annual event, FNU partnered with the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) in a brand new initiative this year to produce a video about the need for a diverse nurse-midwifery workforce to improve health outcomes across the United States.

This five-minute video, filmed as part of AWHONN’s “Partners in Care" program, highlights how Frontier Nursing University students are providing significant contributions to address health disparities for women who are facing language, racial, geographical and other socioeconomic barriers. 

 

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“The fact that African American women are 3 to 4 times more likely to die in and around childbirth than their white counterparts - that struck a chord with me,” said Ameenah Jackson, FNU nurse-midwifery student, in the video.

Jackson, along with hundreds of other FNU students, is the future of quality care for women who, before now, have not felt heard or valued by a health care provider.

A portion of the video is an interview with a new member of FNU’s Executive Leadership Team. Dr. Maria Valentin-Welch, DNP, MPH, CDP, CNM, FACNM, was brought on board in September 2017 as the inaugural Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDIO).

Valentin-Welch’s position is designed to guide FNU on matters of equity, diversity and inclusion. Together with the president, dean, chief operations officer, chief advancement officer, and executive vice president for finance and facilities, the CDIO will lead the development of a vision and strategy that champions the importance of a diverse and inclusive environment that values and supports all members of the University community.

With over 30 years of teaching experience, Dr. Valentin-Welch is working from the classroom outward in strategizing diversity initiatives for FNU.

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“The strategies that I feel will have the most positive impact on Frontier are building these excellent student services, as well as diversity and inclusion training strategies and tactics to enhance our courses by threading diversity and inclusion issues along the way,” said Dr. Valentin-Welch. “We want to thread the subject matter even further throughout the curriculum. We will be stronger individually and as a whole because of the introductions of these plans.”

The AWHONN reporter concludes: “FNU is at the forefront of tackling the difficult and delicate issues related to equity of care through head-on conversations and diversity events for students.”

One such conversation was had in June 2018 between FNU President Dr. Susan Stone, DNSc, CNM, FACNM, FAAN, certified nurse-midwife, and President of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and Andrew Bennie, Product Director at Springer Publishing Group and guest host of the weekly “Nursecast” podcast series.

Dr. Stone and Bennie’s discussion tackled the question: “Why is Maternal Mortality Growing in the United States?” In the eighteen minute podcast, Dr. Stone pinpoints a lack of racially-concordant care as a culprit.

According to data, 700 women around the U.S. die of pregnancy complications per year, while 50,000 cases are near misses. Many of those cases are disproportionately correlated to race. 

Dr. Stone explains that patients are more receptive to care from a health provider who understands their culture and socioeconomic background. Currently, only 6% of midwives in the United States are women or men of color. FNU’s initiative is to diversify not only the field of midwifery, but the healthcare workforce as a whole.

“Today about 22% of FNU students are men and women of color – up from just 9% in 2010,” said Dr. Stone.

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Each population in America’s melting pot, formed by race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, language, or a combination of other factors, will see better health outcomes with culturally-concordant healthcare providers and models. Institutions like Frontier Nursing University are equipping and encouraging their students to answer the call to make these underrepresented populations feel heard, valued and served.

About Frontier Nursing University:

The mission of FNU is to provide accessible nurse-midwifery and nurse practitioner education to prepare competent, entrepreneurial, ethical, and compassionate leaders in primary care to serve all individuals with an emphasis on women and families in diverse, rural, and underserved populations. FNU offers graduate Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse-Practitioner distance education programs that can be pursued full- or part-time with the student’s home community serving as the classroom. Degrees and options offered include Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Post-Graduate Certificates. To learn more about FNU and the programs and degrees offered, please visit Frontier.edu.

Topics: diversity, diversity in nursing

Diversity Impact 2017- Moving Forward: Uniting Through Diversity

Posted by Frontier Nursing University

Tue, Jun 06, 2017 @ 02:20 PM

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First article written by Frontier Nursing University
Second article Written by Marissa Silver

Frontier Nursing University believes in increasing awareness of the importance of cultural competency and decreasing health disparities. This article is about their 7th annual Diversity Impact Event. FNU states “Diversity Impact is designed to open the door for nurses to foster and strengthen collaborative discussions to address health disparities to improve minority health among underrepresented and marginalized groups.” Enjoy this informative article.

In a rapidly-changing, sometimes divided world, Frontier Nursing University (FNU) emphasizes the value of respecting and honoring diversity.

In the United States, there is a wide gap in health outcomes. Several populations face greater obstacles in obtaining good health based on their racial or ethnic group, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, age, mental health, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or geographic location. These disparities may exist because of social and economic inequality, inadequate health care providers or systems, and bias on the part of health care providers or patients.

The gap forming in the health of women before and during pregnancies is also a source of concern. Determinants of a mother’s health may include social factors, ethnic or racial group, or her previous health statufnu1.jpegs. An infant child is also impacted by factors such as nutrition, family income, and the geographic location of their homes and neighborhoods.

Additionally, consider this: women living in rural areas have less access to health care than women living in urban areas. Where 22.8% of women live in what is defined as a “rural” area in the U.S.¹, there is a significant disparity between the health care they receive and the health care received by the “urban” population of women.

Although health care needs around the nation are diverse, health care providers do not reflect the population. In 2008, only 16.8% of Registered Nurses residing in the United States represented diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds². Additionally, underrepresented groups make up less than 10% of nursing school faculty³. The nursing profession faces the challenge of recruiting and retaining a culturally diverse workforce that mirrors the nation's demographics.

With these challenges in mind, it is important that our education system equips nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives and other healthcare professionals with the resources they need to eliminate these disparities, and ultimately achieve health equity.FNU would like to see the Frontier community impact health equity and move forward by uniting through diversity.

On June 1- 4, 2017, Frontier Nursing University held the 7th annual Diversity Impact Student Conference. Diversity Impact is designed to open the door for nurses to foster and strengthen collaborative discussions to address health disparities to improve minority health among underrepresented and marginalized groups. Students will engage in cross-cultural and intercultural workshop activities, along with leadership strategies on current diversity healthcare trends as it relates to patient-provider care.

This year’s Diversity Impact theme is Moving Forward: Uniting Through Diversity. Students will attend sessions hosted by nationally recognized nursing leaders; participate in teambuilding activities, cultural competency awareness training, and open dialogues; network with available FNU students, community leaders, faculty and staff; and learn more about the world with FNU’s International Food Menu.

fnu3.jpegFrontier Nursing University conference discusses healthcare diversity

Factors such as someone's age, race, gender and ethnicity can all play a role in their healthcare.

This weekend, Frontier Nursing University students attended a conference, to learn how those factors and other differences between populations may impact a patient's health and treatment. One factor, which may impact patients in Eastern Kentucky is living in rural communities.

"It's like a totally different population than what you see in urban areas," Vaishu Jawahar who attended the conference said. "Even though we think that sometimes urban populations have it bad, the sheer lack of resources that's out here makes being in a rural area that much harder."

Another topic discussed during the conference was caring for those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

"As healthcare providers, no matter what your political views are you have to be able to take care of everyone or at least make them feel comfortable enough to seek out your care," said Jawahar.

As part of the discussion on serving the LGBT community, two Frontier Nursing University students talked about their experience treating patients during last year's mass shooting, at Pulse, a Gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Overall, those who attended the conference said taking the time to get to know the patient and their background can make a difference.

"It's so easy for us to get caught up in our way of life, we forget there's very different realities for everyone," Wilvena Bernard, Diversity Pride Program Coordinator, Frontier Nursing University said.

More than 50 students and faculty attended the conference from across the country.

Last month, University officials announced they are moving student activities from the Hyden campus to Versailles by Fall of 2018.

Interested in learning more about Frontier Nursing University? Check out their Employer Profile! Just Click Here.

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Topics: Diversity and Inclusion, diversity, cultural competence, cultural competency, minority health, health disparities, health care providers

Your hospital isn't deliberate about diversity in leadership? Meet Antoinette Hardy-Waller, the woman out to change that

Posted by Pat Magrath

Tue, Feb 07, 2017 @ 12:45 PM

ahw.jpgDiversityNursing.com would like to share this article with you. It features an interview with Antoinette Hardy-Waller, an extremely knowledgeable leader in the field of healthcare and Nursing. She is “devoted to advancing African Americans in executive, governance and entrepreneurial roles in healthcare.”
 
While many healthcare organizations have a commitment to diversity, inclusion and cultural competency in their workforce and patient care, her point is, it’s imperative to have diversity in the top ranks where decisions are made. Read on for important details.
 
Antoinette Hardy-Waller has worked in healthcare for more than 25 years. She's spent time as a nurse, home care business owner, board member for a major national health system, and consultant. Yet of all of her experiences, it is the time and energy she pours into The Leverage Network that she considers "passion work."
 
 
Download A Free Cultural Checklist

Becker's Hospital Review is the original producer/publisher of part of this content.
 

Topics: Diversity and Inclusion, leadership diversity, hospital diversity, diversity

How Changing Demographics Affect Nursing Practice

Posted by Tricia Hussung

Fri, Jul 15, 2016 @ 11:08 AM

thumbnail_750x325-patientdems-header-CU.jpgRecent demographic shifts will have major implications for the U.S. healthcare system, both in terms of the delivery of patient care and the practice of nursing. According to experts at Kansas State University, improved public health and clinical care have led to an increase in the average life span, meaning that by the year 2020 more than 20 percent of the population will be age 65 or older. In fact, individuals over the age of 85 make up the fastest-growing group. This will lead to extended treatment of long-term chronic conditions, challenging the healthcare system’s ability to provide efficient care. 

In addition, the diversity of the general population is a relevant topic on the minds of many nurses. Because multiculturalism affects the nature of illness and disease as well as morbidity and mortality, nurses must learn to adapt their practice to various cultural values and beliefs. Relevant factors include national origin, religious affiliation, language, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, socioeconomic status and more. Understanding cultural diversity is becoming a daily responsibility for many nurses. 

Such changes in the population are significant for nurses. Nursing practice, education and perspectives must adapt and respond to changing demographics because nurses play an increasingly important role in healthcare delivery. 

Understanding the Aging Population 

As the baby boomer generation ages, the number of older adults in the United States is expected to increase exponentially. Combine this with a longer average life span, and the healthcare system needs to adapt — quickly. To meet the needs of a large aging population, nurses in particular must “identify strategies to allow older adults to live independently for as long as possible; provide health care and education for older adults who are self-managing multiple chronic illnesses; ensure that older adults in long-term care settings receive high-quality care,” says Patricia A. Grady, Ph.D., RN, of the National Institute of Nursing Research. 

The National Institute of Health estimates that about 80 percent of people over the age of 65 have at least one chronic illness, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis. In addition, the number of older adults with multiple chronic illnesses is substantial. Chronic illnesses are one of the most central issues facing nurses in terms of the aging population because they impact quality of life for patients and garner considerable expenses. Seventy-five percent of healthcare costs in the United States are the result of chronic illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Key considerations for elder care delivery include the following, according to Grady: 

* Identifying ways to improve healthcare and quality of life for older adults across care settings, from the nursing home to the community 

* Interpersonal interactions, either between older adults and family members or nursing staff, or among different levels of staff in a nursing home, which can influence older adults’ quality of life and health-related outcomes 

* Nurses as integral members and leaders of interdisciplinary healthcare teams to solve complex health problems and provide for older adults 

* Assessing multiple types of intervention, analytical parameters and environmental settings to fully understand the complexity of healthcare issues facing older adults and to produce the most positive health outcomes 

In general, nurses will be required to provide care for more adults (and older adults) than ever before — patients who have complex healthcare needs. However, nurses are also in an ideal position to communicate with older adults about self-care strategies to prevent further illness while maintaining their independence, functioning, and mental and physical health. Nurses of all specialties have traditionally been leaders in elder care and will continue to play a critical role in addressing the challenges of geriatric healthcare in coming years. 

Diversity and Multiculturalism 

Another critical element involved in patient demographic shifts is diversity. In today’s healthcare system, the relationship between culture and health is central to delivering quality patient care. “Of the many factors that are known to determine health beliefs and behaviors, culture is the most influential,” according to the article "Many Faces: Addressing Diversity in Health Care," published in the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. To meet the needs of culturally diverse patients, nurses and other healthcare providers must become both culturally competent and culturally aware. 

The National Student Nurses’ Association encourages nurses to provide customized, culturally specific care that fits with a patient’s values, beliefs, traditions, practices and lifestyle. The association promotes diversity awareness, which is defined as “an active, ongoing conscious process in which we recognize similarities and differences within and between various cultural groups.” Diversity awareness also involves cultural assessment and cultural sharing among healthcare professionals with the overall aim of understanding the complex definition of diversity, as based on the writings of Marianne R. Jeffreys, Ed.D., RN. According to Jeffreys, diversity can be based on: 

* Birthplace 

* Citizenship status 

* Reason for migration 

* Migration history 

* Religion 

* Ethnicity 

* Race 

* Language 

* Kinship and family networks 

* Educational background and opportunities 

* Employment skills and opportunities 

* Lifestyle 

* Gender 

* Socioeconomic status 

* Past discrimination and bias experiences 

* Health status and health risk 

* Age 

Though those are admittedly a lot of factors to keep in mind, ignoring diversity may lead to unequal nursing care and negative patient outcomes. Whether it is physical pain or emotional stress, patients could experience adverse physiological symptoms if their cultural needs are not taken into consideration. Under the Process of Cultural Competence in the Delivery of Healthcare Services Model, nurses are encouraged to use the following mnemonic, ASKED, when caring for any cultural group. 

Have I ASKED Myself the Right Questions? 

* Awareness: Am I aware of my personal biases and prejudices toward cultural groups different from mine? 

* Skill: Do I have the skill to conduct a cultural assessment and perform a culturally based physical assessment in a sensitive manner? 

* Knowledge: Do I have knowledge of the patient’s worldview? 

* Encounters: How many face-to-face encounters have I had with patients from diverse cultural backgrounds? 

* Desire: What is my genuine desire to “want to be” culturally competent? 

Looking Ahead: Nursing Education at Campbellsville University 

Providing high-quality nursing care to an aging, diverse population is no small task, but it is one of the most important responsibilities of nurses today. In a constantly changing society, nurses will continue to practice using traditional methods such as preventive care and holistic wellness; however, they will also be called on to provide leadership in navigating shifts in patient demographics. A wide variety of skills are required to manage the complex needs of different patient populations. The future of the healthcare delivery system relies on the ability of nurses to refine their practice and expand their core knowledge to address the challenges associated with caring for older adults and diverse cultures. 

You can gain the advanced skills you need with the online RN to BSN degree from Campbellsville University. With an experienced faculty providing real-world knowledge and understanding of nursing, Campbellsville’s program is the ideal opportunity to advance your nursing career.

Is Diversity & Inclusion important in your workplace or health system? Use this Free Cultural Check list to find out. Download A Free Cultural Checklist

Topics: demographics, diversity

Proud Partners eZine

Posted by Pat Magrath

Fri, Jul 08, 2016 @ 11:57 AM

IMG_4944-1-2.jpgAs the population in the US continues to become more Diverse, it is important that employers reflect Diversity & Inclusion throughout their organizations. In the field of Healthcare, there is an increasing need for Healthcare Institutions to reflect the patient populations they serve, particularly in their Nursing staff.Many Schools of Nursing understand they must expand the diversity of their students to meet this need. The collaboration of different cultures, ideas, and perspectives is an organizational asset that brings forth greater collaboration, creativity and innovation, which leads to better patient care.
 
DiversityNursing.com was created in 2007 to help with the growing demand for Diverse Nurses across the country. We are a Career Job Board, Community and Information Resource for all Nurses regardless of age, race, gender, religion, education, national origin, sexual orientation, disability or physical characteristics. We’ve designed our newest product, the DiversityNursing.com Proud Partner” eZine. Our Proud Partners are Healthcare Institutions, Schools of Nursing and Organizations who have made an annual commitment on DiversityNursing.com and strive to promote Diversity & Inclusion in their workplace. We are honored to showcase their leadership and commitment to a more Diverse and Inclusive workforce. 
 
You can view our “Proud Partner” eZine here Access EZine Here

Topics: proud partners, diversity

Advantages Of Being Bilingual in Nursing

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Jun 25, 2015 @ 09:02 AM

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By Pat Magrath – DiversityNursing.com

If you’re considering a career in nursing and are bilingual, this can be a tremendous advantage for you, your patients and their families. With increased diversity in the U.S., patients with limited English-language skills often arrive at the emergency room and there is no one available who speaks their language. This makes it very difficult for everyone involved to try to understand why the patient is there. Sometimes a family member who speaks limited English accompanies the patient and attempts to describe the family member’s symptoms. This is not an ideal situation and can lead to misunderstanding, frustration and an incorrect diagnosis. To drive this scenario home, imagine you’re on vacation in another country and become ill. You need medical attention, and when you arrive at the hospital no one understands you. This is a scary situation!

While most healthcare institutions offer translation services, sometimes the service is provided over the phone. This method is efficient in communicating information such as what the patient’s symptoms are, describing the appropriate course of treatment, or explaining the specific care of a condition at home. However, we all know there’s nothing like the ability to communicate with someone on a more personal, face-to-face basis. The patient may have more questions after the phone conversation is over. They or their family might ask questions such as, how often should I take this medication? Should I take it with or without food? Who do I call if I have questions when I get home?

As a nurse who is bilingual, you can be a tremendous help and source of comfort in answering these questions. Let’s take the example of a Hispanic nurse who not only speaks and understands both English and Spanish, but who also understands Hispanic culture, values and family traditions because of growing up in that community. My friend Esteban, who happens to be a bilingual Hispanic nurse, also knows the prevalence of certain diseases in the Hispanic community. These include diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular issues. He’s seen these diseases in his family and community. He mentioned that diet and genetics contribute to these problems as the Hispanic diet often contains a lot of pork and fatty foods, which can lead to these conditions.

This is important information he already has because he is a member of the Hispanic community. He also speaks the language and can translate information to the medical team. His ability to communicate between the patient and medical team as well as his knowledge of Hispanic culture is extremely valuable in the care he can give his Hispanic patients. The ability of a patient to communicate directly and effectively with their healthcare provider increases feelings of trust and understanding, which can lead to a higher level of care and well-being. Again, I’ll take you back to becoming ill while traveling in another country and you don’t have the tools to effectively communicate your symptoms. Finding someone on the medical team who speaks English would be a tremendous relief!

The bottom line is clear: open communication, in terms of both verbal and listening skills, is essential to assessing a patient’s problem and determining the appropriate care and treatment. If you’re considering the field of nursing and are bilingual, you know so much already about your community’s language, customs, food and family values. You also have an awareness of healthcare issues prevalent in your community. As a bilingual nurse, you can be incredibly effective in delivering a high standard of care while putting your patient at ease.

As the Hispanic population and the need for nurses continues to grow, consider becoming a nurse. Courses are available online so you can fit classes in that accommodate your schedule and needs. The biggest benefit of online courses is that they offer flexibility. You’ll also save on time and commuting expenses. You can work, take classes online and reach your goal of becoming a nurse on your timeline!

I’m compensated by University of Phoenix for this blog. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

For more information about on-time completion rates, the median debt incurred by students who completed this program and other important information, please visit phoenix.edu.

Topics: language, diversity, nursing, nurse, health care, patients, Bilingual

Nursing Stigma in the Hispanic Community

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jun 10, 2015 @ 09:11 AM

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By Pat Magrath – DiversityNursing.com

When you think of the nurses in your life – family, friends and coworkers – are they all female? For many years, this has been the reality. But these days, more men are getting into the field of nursing. A friend of mine, Esteban, and I were chatting about his 18-year career as a nurse.

Esteban grew up in Puerto Rico. His family came to the U.S. when he was a child. His father and brother are policemen, a field primarily dominated by men. When he talked to his mother about becoming a nurse, she wasn’t excited about it because “if you’re Hispanic and interested in becoming a nurse, it is assumed you’re gay.” When she realized his passion for nursing, she was supportive and advised him respectfully.

Esteban explained that, in his culture, there is “machismo.” The Urban Dictionary defines machismo as “having an unusually high or exaggerated sense of masculinity. Including an attitude that aggression, strength, sexual prowess, power and control is the measure of someone’s manliness.” With the nursing profession being predominately female, Esteban’s mother feared he’d be teased and not seen as a strong “man.”

In Esteban’s Hispanic culture, he explained, “female nurses are completely accepted with pride, but for a male nurse it is expected you’re gay. Machismo is very strong in the Mexican, Dominican and Puerto Rican cultures. More straight guys are getting into nursing now. It is changing because of the nursing shortage and shortage of jobs. For many, this is a second career choice when men couldn’t find work in their first career choice.”

Esteban’s family has been extremely supportive of his chosen career, particularly while he was pursuing his master’s degree online. He explained how important family support is. His family provided some meals, continually asked what he needed and attended his graduation. They are very proud of him.

English is not Esteban’s first language, so classes and homework were very difficult. If you’re Hispanic and thinking about becoming a nurse, he advises, “don’t procrastinate.” He explains, “you need time to research and support your articles.” With English as his second language, “it took more time to check my sources, read it, read it again, and… read it again. Then… write and re-write my papers. English-speaking people can take about a half hour. It took me three times longer.” He offers great advice about the support of family and the expectation that assignments will take longer to complete.

Think about taking classes online as an option in pursuing your nursing career while juggling a busy life.

Esteban’s proficiency in Spanish comes in very handy while working at the VA in Harlem as an RN Care Manager. He is often asked to translate for patients, and most of Esteban’s patients are male veterans and Hispanic. He said, “they like a Hispanic male nurse taking care of them.”

He has plans to continue his education in the fall of 2016 and work toward attaining his doctorate. While achieving his master’s through an online program, which served him well, he envisions taking his PhD classes in a classroom to consult with instructors and collaborate with others.

Whenever Esteban talks to people about becoming a nurse, he loves to point out that “as a nurse, you can work in any setting – hospitals, schools, insurance companies, etc. If you don’t want to be a bedside nurse, there are different places to work.”

Gracias for your insights, Esteban! We appreciate all your hard work and dedication.

And if you’re thinking about getting into this field, this is a great time to do so.

I’m compensated by University of Phoenix for this blog. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Topics: diversity, nursing, hispanic, nurses, stigma

Diversity In Nursing [Infographic]

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jun 08, 2015 @ 03:11 PM

Erica Bettencourt

There is a need for diversity in the health industry, especially Nurses. Having more diverse nurses will improve access to healthcare for racial and ethnic minority patients. Also those patients will be more comfortable and have higher satisfaction. Diversity must be increased at all levels especially educational institutions. More cultural healthcare programs and initiatives should be offered for students.

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Topics: diversity in nursing, diversity, nursing, healthcare, patients

How Do Race And Ethnicity Influence Childhood Obesity?

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Apr 29, 2015 @ 10:54 AM

Written by James McIntosh

www.medicalnewstoday.com 

children lying down in a circle smiling resized 600Obesity is a serious public health problem in the US and can affect anyone regardless of age. In particular, childhood obesity prevalence remains high. As well as compromising a child's immediate health, obesity can also negatively influence long-term health dramatically. Unfortunately, some racial and ethnic groups are affected by obesity much more than others.

For example, the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH) report that African-American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese, compared with other racial or ethnic groups in the US.

Approximately 4 out of 5 African-African women were found to be overweight or obese and, in 2011, African-American women were 80% more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white women.

Researchers have identified that disparities in obesity prevalence can be found just as readily among children as among adults. It is alarming that these disparities exist to begin with, but more so that they exist so early in life for so many.

In this Spotlight feature, we take a brief look at the prevalence of childhood obesity in the US and the disparities in childhood obesity prevalence that exist among different racial and ethnic groups. We will examine what factors may contribute to this disparity and what action can be taken to remedy the situation.

A growing problem

"Obesity is the terror within," states Dr. Richard Carmona, the former Surgeon General. "Unless we do something about it, the magnitude of the dilemma will dwarf 9-11 or any other terrorist attempt."

These are strong words, but they illustrate the scope of the obesity problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2009-2010, over a third (35.7%) of adults in the US were obese.

On average, childhood obesity in the US has not changed significantly since 2003-2004, and overall, approximately 17% of all children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese - a total of 12.7 million.

There are a number of immediate health problems that childhood obesity can lead to, including:

  • Respiratory problems, such as asthma and sleep apnea
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Increased risk of psychological and social problems, such as discrimination and low self-esteem
  • Joint problems
  • Type 2 diabetes.

In the long term, obese children are much more likely to grow up to be obese as adults than children with healthy weights. Not only that, but the obesity experienced by these children is likely to be more severe, leading to further and more extreme health problems.

Significant disparities exist in obesity prevalence between different racial and ethnic groups. The CDC report the following obesity prevalence percentages among different youth demographics:

  • Hispanic youth - 22.4%
  • Non-Hispanic black youth - 20.2%
  • Non-Hispanic white youth - 14.1%
  • Non-Hispanic Asian youth - 8.6%.

From these figures taken from 2011-2012, we can see that levels of obesity among Hispanic and non-Hispanic black children and adolescents are significantly above average.

When the parameters are extended to include overweight children as well, the disparity persists. Around 38.9% of Hispanic youth and 32.5% of non-Hispanic black youth are either overweight or obese, compared with 28.5% of non-Hispanic white youth.

In 2008, Dr. Sonia Caprio, from the Yale University School of Medicine, CN, and colleagues wrote an article published in Diabetes Care in which they examined the influence of race, ethnicity and culture on childhood obesity, and what their implications were for prevention and treatment.

"Obesity in children is associated with severe impairments in quality of life," state the authors. "Although differences by race may exist in some domains, the strong negative effect is seen across all racial/ethnic groups and dwarfs any potential racial/ethnic differences."

However, if there are specific factors contributing to these disparities that can be addressed, the numbers involved suggest that attention should be paid to them. The long-term health of thousands of children in the US is at stake.

Socioeconomic factors

"Rarely is obesity in children caused by a medical condition," write the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in their childhood obesity advocacy manual. "It occurs when more calories are eaten than calories burned."

The NAACP outline a number of factors that contribute to increases in childhood obesity, including:

  • The development of neighborhoods that hinder or prevent outdoor physical activity
  • Failure to adequately educate and influence families about good nutrition
  • Ignored need for access to healthy foods within communities
  • Limited physical activity in schools
  • Promotion of a processed food culture.

The CDC report that childhood obesity among preschoolers is more prevalent in those who come from lower-income families. It is likely that this ties in with the disparity with obesity prevalence among different racial and ethnic groups.

"There are major racial differences in wealth at a given level of income," write Caprio, et al. "Whereas whites in the bottom quintile of income had some accumulated resources, African-Americans in the same income quintile had 400 times less or essentially none."

Fast food and processed food is widely available, low cost and nutritionally poor. For these reasons, they are often associated with rising obesity prevalence among children. According to Caprio, et al., lower-cost foods comprise a greater proportion of the diet of lower-income individuals.

If adults need to work long hours in order to make enough money to support their families, they may have a limited amount of time in which to prepare meals, leading them to choose fast food and convenient processed food over more healthy home-cooked meals.

Living in high-poverty areas can also mean that children have limited access to suitable outdoor spaces for exercise. If the street is the only option available to children in which to play, they or their parents may prefer them to stay inside in a safer environment.

Hispanic youth and non-Hispanic black youth are more likely to come from lower-income families than non-Hispanic white youth. According to The State of Obesity, white families earn $2 for every $1 earned by Hispanic or non-Hispanic black families.

Over 38% of African-American children aged below 18 and 23% of Latino families live below the poverty line. This statistic suggests that the effects of living with a low income that increase the risk of obesity may be felt much more by African-American and Latino families and their children.

Not only do these socioeconomic factors increase the risk of obesity among these demographic groups but equally obesity can compromise a family's economic standing.

The NAACP point out that families with obese children spend more money on clothing and medical care. Additionally, as obese and overweight girls frequently start puberty at a younger-than-average age, there is a possibility that their risk of adolescent pregnancy is also higher.

Cultural factors

Alongside these socioeconomic factors, a number of additional factors exist that may be linked to an increased prevalence of childhood obesity among Hispanic and non-Hispanic black youth.

The NAACP give one such example, stating that one component of body image is how a person believes others view them or accept their weight:

"This also poses unique challenges in African-American communities because of cultural norms that accept, uplift and at times reward individuals who are considered 'big-boned,' 'P-H-A-T, fat,' or thick.'"

Cultural norms such as these may lead to parents remaining satisfied with the weight of their children or even wanting them to be heavier, even if they are at an unhealthy weight. Other sociological studies have also suggested that among Hispanic families, women may prefer a thin figure for themselves but a larger one for their children, according to Caprio, et al.

As well as being influenced by socioeconomic status, the type of foods eaten by children can be influenced by the cultural traditions of their families.

"Food is both an expression of cultural identity and a means of preserving family and community unity," write Caprio, et al. "While consumption of traditional food with family may lower the risk of obesity in some children (e.g., Asians), it may increase the risk of obesity in other children (e.g., African-Americans)."

As mentioned earlier, the promotion of a processed food culture may be a contributing factor to childhood obesity. As fast food companies target specific audiences, favoring cultural forms associated with a particular race or ethnicity could increase children's risk of being exposed to aggressive marketing.

Caprio, et al., report that exposure to food-related television advertising - most frequently fast food advertising - was found to be 60% among African-American children.

The amount of television that is watched may contribute as well; one study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation observed that African-American children watched television for longer periods than non-Hispanic white children.

A number of these cultural factors are associated with socioeconomic factors. African-American children may be more likely to watch television for longer, for example, if they live in areas where opportunities for playing safely outside are limited.

What can be done?

This subject area is far too detailed to do justice to in an article of this size, but these brief observations suggest that there should be ways in which the disparity in childhood obesity between racial and ethnic groups can be addressed.

Having more safe spaces to walk, exercise and play in low-income areas would give children a better opportunity to get the exercise need to burn the required number of calories each day. Improving the availability of and access to healthy food would give families more options when it came to maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.

The NAACP state that low-income neighborhoods have half as many supermarkets as the wealthiest neighborhoods, suggesting that for many low-income families, accessing healthy food can be a challenge.

These problems are ones that would need to be solved by local government and businesses that have influence over the planning and development of public living spaces. 

Caprio, et al. propose that a "socioecological" framework should be adopted to guide the prevention of childhood obesity. Such a framework would involve viewing children "in the context of their families, communities, and cultures, emphasizing the relationships among environmental, biological and behavioral determinants of health."

This approach would require large-scale collaboration, involving peer support, the establishment of supportive social norms and both the private and public sector working together.

"For health care providers to have a meaningful interaction about energy intake and energy expenditure with children/families, providers should have training in cultural competency in order to understand the specific barriers patients face and the influence of culture and society on health behaviors," the authors suggest.

In order for this disparity to be adequately addressed, a lot of work will need to be done. Not only might certain cultural norms need to be altered, but most importantly, environments will need to be provided in which children will have the opportunity to live as healthy lives as possible.

Topics: US, obesity, diversity, health, healthcare, CDC, public health, children, minority, ethnicity, race, childhood obesity

Diversity In Healthcare Jobs Up - But Should We Get Our Hopes Up?

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Apr 27, 2015 @ 11:43 AM

Star Cunningham

http://4dhealthware.com 

diversity2 resized 600The healthcare industry is in a constant state of flux. But while technologies are rapidly changing, the industry is still cast in monochrome with little racial or gender diversity. There are definitely large societal issues at root – like the massive expense of becoming a doctor and lack of adequate STEM education in many inner-city elementary schools – that will take a generation to solve. But while these massive gaps remain, it is often hard to see incremental progress.

Recently, I found a study that gave me a small glimmer of hope that progress is happening. According to Professional Diversity Network, recruiters and HR professionals accelerated their search for diverse talent in healthcare in January. Specifically, the Professional Diversity Network’s Diversity Jobs Index, which tracks the demand for diverse talent across sectors, jumped 11 percent from December 2014 in healthcare. 

The Professional Diversity Network pointed to a few factors that could have attributed to the change. For example, the study suggests that many more small clinics across the country, particularly in urban settings, have increased their workforces. 

While the Professional Diversity Network pointed to trends that could be the cause, I believe this is evidence that diversity programs like the Institute for Diversity, Ms. Tech and Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy are finally beginning to have an impact not just on awareness, but also on behaviors. 

Diversity programs are crucial because they not only acknowledge that problems exist, but they create communities to offer training and support to help women, minorities, and other under-acknowledged groups succeed. For example, IHSCA prepares inner city high school students for a career in healthcare with tutoring and mentorship programs. 

This is great news not only for the women, minorities, veterans or disabled professionals being employed, but also for the healthcare industry as a whole. Healthcare professionals service every ethnic group and gender, so the more that doctors and nurses can empathize and understand their patients, the better care they will give. In part, that empathy and understanding relies on working in a diverse environment.

So to answer the question I posed in the headline: yes we should get our hopes up. Healthcare executives are in fact beginning to value and invest in diversity, which is a sign of positive change. There is still a long way to go, and who knows if there will ever be an all minority board of a hospital, but we’re heading in the right direction.

Topics: diversity, Workforce, diverse, healthcare, health care, minority

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