DiversityNursing Blog

Is Healthcare Committed to Diversity in their Workforce?

Posted by Sarah West, MSN, FNP

Fri, May 27, 2022 @ 12:19 PM

GettyImages-1357830750Why Should Healthcare Be Committed to Diversity in their Workforce? 

Diversity within healthcare is essential in delivering competent and inclusive patient care. Individuals from all walks of life enter hospitals and clinics daily to seek medical care. To provide these individuals with the best medical care possible, we must be able to relate to them properly. The best way to ensure we can connect and communicate effectively with patients is to ensure that the healthcare staff is well diversified. 

What is Diversity in Healthcare? 

Diversity is reflected in healthcare by employing individuals from different backgrounds and walks of life. There are many ways healthcare staff can be diversified. A diversified workforce includes hiring persons of multiple races, ages, genders, ethnicities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, education levels, languages, and sexual orientations. Military service is also a unique quality that can often be overlooked to add to the diverse population of healthcare workers. 

Is Healthcare Committed to Diversity in their Workforce?

Although there is much evidence to support that diversity within the healthcare workforce is beneficial for employees and the community, there is still a gap in healthcare diversity. The majority of Physicians are white males. Nurses tend to be predominately female. 

Benefits of Diversity in Healthcare 

There are many benefits to having a diverse workforce for the healthcare staff and patients. Some of those benefits include:

  • Individualized Patient Care for Diverse Populations: When you have a patient seeking care and there is diversity within your healthcare staff, there is always someone on the healthcare team who can communicate and identify with them to ensure their needs are met. 
  • Increased Patient Trust: Patients seek medical care for a variety of reasons. Often, the reason for seeking care comes with a sense of anxiety. Studies have shown when patients can easily relate to their healthcare provider, there is better overall communication and better patient outcomes. It’s also been shown that when patients relate better to healthcare staff, they are more likely to continue with follow-up care and take part in preventative care measures.
  • Improved Problem Solving: A wide range of perspectives from individuals of different backgrounds allows for better problem solving and creative solutions to problems. When creative minds come together from various perspectives, new ideas and innovations can be produced. 
  • Better Employee Retention and Morale: Employing a diverse community of healthcare workers can improve employee morale and make the workplace more enjoyable. Working for a company that takes pride in people of diverse populations positively impacts the workplace and the community. 

Disadvantages of a Lack of Diversity

The disadvantages of a lack of diversity within healthcare can pose significant risks to healthcare delivery and result in poor patient outcomes. Some disadvantages include:

  • Impaired Communication: Impaired communication occurs when there is a language barrier. Healthcare staff may not fully understand what a patient is trying to convey, and patients may be confused about the plan of care, leading to patient dissatisfaction and potential medical errors. 
  • Limited Perspectives: When healthcare staff lacks diversity, implicit bias can affect how healthcare is delivered to those of different backgrounds. Implicit bias is when healthcare workers unintentionally judge patients based on their different beliefs, customs, or cultures. Although implicit bias is not intentional, it can cause significant harm. Having a diverse healthcare staff decreases implicit biases by allowing for different perspectives while implementing care.

How can we Promote Diversity in Healthcare? 

The only way to truly diversify healthcare professionals is to make medical education more attainable for people of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. People seeking healthcare education should have access to feasible and affordable education. 

Many students seeking medical education are not of the traditional college age. College students can range from working parents, people changing careers, or single parents seeking education on weekends or nights. Many people cannot dedicate days to a classroom setting. A great way to achieve a more diverse workforce is to improve upon and offer more online learning programs that are more accessible and affordable to various and diverse people. 

Conclusion 

The importance of diversity within the healthcare workforce is evident. When healthcare is more diversified, medicine itself becomes more culturally competent. All healthcare workplaces should strive to provide a diverse population of workers to improve overall patient outcomes and acquire better patient satisfaction.

Topics: diversity in healthcare, diverse workforce, workplace diversity, healthcare diversity

The Growing Role of Chief Diversity Officer

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, Feb 16, 2021 @ 12:34 PM

CDOLast year, Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) hires grew by 84%, making it the fastest growing C-suite title, according to LinkedIn.

There has been a national wave of concern about racial inequities, especially in healthcare, with the arrival of the COVID pandemic.

Many healthcare organizations are increasing their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. Leaders are addressing racial health disparities and finding ways to improve patient care for all. Part of their efforts include establishing a Chief Diversity Officer role.

Winifred King is Cook Children’s first ever Chief Diversity Officer. King said, “It is hard to put into words what this decision and investment means to people of color and anyone who has ever felt different or excluded. For all of us who may have experienced inequities and mistreatment in our lifetimes, it is comforting to be a part of an organization that accepts our differences, our failures, and is willing to look inward and truly examine what is at the heart of our culture.”

“COVID-19 is amplifying health disparities in communities of color,” said Quita Highsmith, the Chief Diversity Officer of biotech company, Genentech. “It is now time for us to stop tiptoeing around it and start thinking about what we are going to do.”

CDOs are responsible for addressing these healthcare disparities. They are developing strategies to promote diversity, inclusivity, and equitable cultures throughout their organization.

Education and awareness are playing a key role in improving health outcomes for diverse communities. The CDO coordinates efforts internally to provide staff with resources and courses, such as cultural competence training as well as finding ways externally to work with the community they serve.

In addition, the CDO helps to create recruitment programs that ensures their DEI message is reaching diverse candidates. As a member of the C-suite, the CDO can communicate to all leaders that diversity recruitment, for all position levels, should be a priority.

Studies suggest diversity in healthcare leadership enhances quality of care, quality of life in the workplace, community relations, and the ability to affect community health status.

The CDO helps to define, educate, and communicate the hospital/health system’s culture and DEI message to its staff, patient population and community.

Joseph Hill, was the first Chief Diversity Officer at Jefferson Health. He requested they establish focus groups with patients to better understand their expectations and view of the system. With the information provided by the focus groups, they found the areas that needed improvements.

HCA Healthcare created the BRAVE Conversations program, an ‘outside the box’ platform designed to facilitate interactive, inclusive, innovative and safe ways for employees to share their thoughts on issues that may be difficult to discuss.

It is imperative that leadership is committed to their DEI mission. Without it, the CDO cannot wave a magic wand and transform an entire organization overnight. It takes commitment, communication both internally and externally, resources, time, and effort from all areas of the health system.

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Topics: Diversity and Inclusion, CDO, chief diversity officer, hospital diversity, diversity in healthcare, health disparities, diversity recruitment, racial health disparities

Recruiting a More Diverse Workforce: It’s About Telling a Story and Backing It Up with Actions

Posted by Pat Magrath

Thu, Jan 28, 2021 @ 02:39 PM

groupnurses-1

Pat Magrath, National Sales Director, DiversityNursing.com pmagrath@diversitynursing.com

Our country and the world is experiencing a huge awakening and changing attitude toward bias and racism and it is about time! It shouldn’t have taken these recent tragic events to bring about this ground swell of emotion and passion for change, but here we are.

It is time to channel this passion to create positive and lasting new initiatives in our society. A big part of this change falls to employers to review what they say about their organization, how they hire new employees, and how they treat and communicate with their existing staff, patients and visitors. Now, more than ever, your recruitment communications need to reflect an honest and thoughtful narrative about your organizational commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

Diversity Recruitment means reaching out to ALL diverse communities including people from various racial/ethnic backgrounds, ages, gender identities, religions, education levels, national origins, sexual orientations, veteran status, marital status, disabilities, and physical characteristics. However, it is much more than just words on paper or a clever equal opportunity line. It is about telling a story and demonstrating through your actions why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important.

grouphealthcare

Diversity Recruiting Steps & Strategy

Get Started

Diversity Recruiting is about your core company beliefs, employment strategies and your ability to look at the big picture when it comes to expanding the diversity within your employee population. Look at the patients your organization serves. What is the population makeup of your community? Do your employees reflect your patient population? Do they understand how culture and family structures can impact healthcare decisions? Do they understand nuances in language? Have they been taught how different religious backgrounds impact how and when people seek care? If not, you are probably losing market share or certainly will in the near future.

Patients want and often need to be taken care of by someone who can look at much more than just physical or emotional symptoms. A more diverse employee population leads to the collaboration of different cultures, ideas, and perspectives and is an organizational asset that brings forth greater creativity and innovation in your workplace.

Define Your Company Culture

valuesWe often hear the term “recruitment brand”, but can you honestly say you have one that reflects Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? Your “recruitment brand” is NOT what you aspire to be. It is who you are NOW and a big part of that is how others experience or perceive your organization.

Can you articulate and explain your company culture, beliefs and perception in the community? Do you have a clear, inclusive mission statement? If not, start working on it now. Who are you as an employer? Would a diverse candidate feel comfortable working there?

Put together a team of internal people from various backgrounds to get their input and help you define and promote your company culture. Once you’ve defined it, believe it, commit to it and act upon it. It should be a comprehensive effort from the top down.

Embrace It

What do the leaders of your organization say and do about your DEI initiative? It is imperative your senior leadership is committed to your DEI mission. If they don’t stand behind it, nothing will change. People pay attention to what you say AND what you do. There are many ways to monitor how an organization delivers on its promises. If your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts don’t match up with what you say, then you have lost credibility and it will be very difficult to build it back.

Get Your Message Out There – How and Where You Reach People

megaphoneAssess what you’re currently doing. What’s working and what isn’t? Where can you improve? What’s your budget? What are your competitors doing? Once you’ve answered these questions, you must develop a strategy about how and where you’re going to consistently communicate your message through ALL of your internal and external channels including…

  • Your Website – particularly your Career Pages
  • Community Involvement – get out into your community and spread your DEI message. Your community comprises your patients, visitors and employees.
  • Signage throughout your buildings
  • All Recruitment Communications should outline your DEI message including:
- Career Pages
- Electronic Communications including radio, TV, social media, etc
- Print Communications
- Employee Referral Programs
- Collateral & Conference materials – brochures, giveaways, etc
- Business Cards
- Job Postings

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Climbing the Career Ladder & Diversity

In addition to recruiting diverse employees, mentoring and promoting them is equally important to your DEI commitment. You not only retain committed employees as you promote them, but your staff sees what you’re doing and is encouraged.

Dr. Stefanie Johnson is a professor at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado-Boulder, an expert in the DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) space, and the author of the recent Wall Street Journal bestseller, Inclusify. As an executive coach and consultant to large corporations on the development and succession of leaders, Dr. Johnson explains the "employee lifecycle" from recruiting to executive advancement. This lifecycle starts with the hiring of talent at companies, continues onto the engagement and development of them through teams, and then moves to the potential promotion of diverse employees into higher leadership roles. https://www.forbes.com/sites/niharchhaya/2020/06/29/why-diversity-and-inclusion-efforts-fail-to-deliver-and-how-to-change-that/#636ed82457be

Following these steps will help you achieve an appropriate Diversity Recruiting strategy. Remember, it is imperative that your senior leadership is on board and committed. Your employees, patients and community will be watching.

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Topics: diversity in nursing, recruitment, recruiting, Diversity and Inclusion, diversity in healthcare, diversity recruitment, nurse recruitment, workplace diversity, diversity nursing, hiring diverse candidates, hiring diverse workforce

Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Sep 21, 2020 @ 03:47 PM

belonging

Our healthcare system must work hard to increase diversity within their workforce and create an inclusive environment. Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) strategies are necessary for health systems to provide the best care possible to an evolving population.

A sense of Belonging is equally as important. Just because an employee is working in an organization, it doesn't necessarily mean they feel they belong there.

The feeling of belonging is a fundamental human need. It is an extremely powerful force. Without it, your D&I strategy could fail.

The term Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DI&B) was created by Pat Wadors. She said, "D&I may capture your head, but belonging captures your heart.”

“When someone is different and insecure and they get to be authentic and are welcomed in a team, we can unlock their super powers and bring out the best—not only in that person, but the team and, therefore, the product, the service, the company, the world,” says Wadors.

Covering or masking is when someone tries to fit in with the dominant culture and downplay who they really are. Research from a Deloitte study of more than 3,000 people found that 61% of people cover at work, even more so if they are Black (79%) or LGBTQ+ (83%).

Neuroscience researchers have found that exclusion lights up the same regions of the brain as physical pain. “Being excluded is painful because it threatens fundamental human needs, such as belonging and self-esteem,” says Dr. Kipling Williams of Purdue University.

When someone feels excluded over a long period of time, and every day they have to return to an environment where they feel like they do not belong, they'll end up leaving.

Dr. Christine Cox of New York University’s Langone School of Medicine has identified six areas that are enhanced by inclusion and worsened by exclusion: intelligent thought and reasoning, self-care and self-improvement, prosocial behavior, self-regulation, a sense of purpose, and well-being. Each of these items represents real financial gains or losses for teams and organizations.

According to Wadors, in order to create a culture of belonging, teams and managers should reflect on three questions:

  1. How does your organization celebrate differences?
  2. As an employee, do you feel safe if you make a mistake?
  3. Does someone at work care about you?

A Forbes article mentions, another way that a sense of belonging can be nurtured is by creating a stronger sense of community.  A sense of community can be nurtured by regular interactions and collaboration. We tend to stereotype people less and are less fearful of difference when we are more familiar with them or spend more time with them.

But most importantly, there must be trust. Employees should have trust in the company's mission, in the leadership's vision and in their goals. Once every employee feels that they belong in the organization, this will lead to a more positive and inclusive workplace.

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Topics: Diversity and Inclusion, diversity in healthcare, diversity inclusion and belonging

Increasing Diversity In Leadership Roles

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Nov 01, 2019 @ 10:26 AM

nursefolderAccording to Diversity Best Practices, from 2015 to 2030, the US population is projected to grow by 12 percent, from about 321 million to 359 million. Most of that growth will come from minority and immigrant populations.

In order to better serve this growing population there needs to be more diverse healthcare professionals in leadership roles that mirror a culturally competent workforce. 

Modern Healthcare covered the industry’s lack of diversity in the C-suite mentioning, "Only 14% of hospital board members and 9% of CEOs are minorities, according to the most recent study by the American Hospital Association's Institute for Diversity and Health Equity—the same percentages as in 2013."

Yvonne Wesley, PhD, RN, FAAN and M. Jane Fitzsimmons, MSN, RN worked together to better understand the barriers diverse Nursing leaders faced in progressing their careers into higher leadership roles.

They created a survey that asked, "What do you perceive as the top three barriers for diversity Nurse leaders in advancing their careers to the executive level?" 

The answers were:

  • Lack of equal access to inclusion.
  • Lack of mentorship and sponsorship.
  • Lack of opportunities for leader experiences.

Here are some ways to promote diversity in healthcare leadership.

In order to destroy these barriers, leaders of all backgrounds and ethnicities must first understand and accept that these barriers do exist. Those leaders can take that knowledge and their own personal cultural insights and use them to effectively address disparities within their own communities.

Mentoring programs are extremely important and should be implemented ASAP. As in any business, Nurses need leaders to help guide and inspire them. Representation of diverse Nurses in leadership positions creates positive influence and confidence in other Nurses looking to achieve leadership goals in the future.

Recruiting diverse candidates at every level increases representation in management, but also develops a diverse workforce and future pool of qualified candidates.

Utilize pro-diversity initiatives to reduce social isolation. Hire a Diversity & Inclusion Officer and appoint a diversity committee. There should be a diversity action plan, diversity training, social gatherings, and resource groups.

In healthcare, trust and representation matters. More diversity in healthcare leadership roles will create better patient outcomes.


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Topics: Diversity and Inclusion, chief diversity officer, diversity in healthcare, workplace diversity, healthcare leadership, diversity in leadership roles

Establishing a Diverse Workplace Culture

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, May 18, 2018 @ 10:43 AM

diversityhands

Promoting diversity and inclusion within your workplace is one of the best ways to foster an open-minded company culture. When you have a diverse work force, they provide unique employee perspectives and when that work force mirrors the population of patients they're treating they can give you the patient's perspective as well. These insights should give you a better understanding of those colleagues and patients.

Operating any business in this day and age, especially a health system, requires a large degree of diversity within the organization to help provide culturally competent care to an ever growing and changing patient population. Larger well-organized health systems have entire teams dedicated to diversity and inclusion efforts.

Sometimes recruiting and hiring managers unconsciously target diverse candidates who act like the majority rather than seeking to bring true differences to their organization. When you hire people who think and act like you do, it is comfortable. You know what they look and sound like, and uniformity feels easier to manage. However, doing so stifles diversity, a sense of belonging and innovation. When people who all think alike come together, they consistently dream up similar solutions. High levels of innovation only happen when you leverage the insights of people who see the world differently.

Try to get feedback about the hiring process from the applicants themselves. They are the people who have experienced bias and cultural misunderstandings. They know how it feels and will have ideas about positive changes that can be made within the organization.  
 
It is highly recommended that your organization provide all employees with diversity training. Employees should understand that hiring decisions are based on finding the best candidate and not only based on quotas. The recruiting process should be transparent to help ease the minds of skeptical employees. Also, be sure managers fully understand the benefits of a diverse workplace. They will be implementing HR policies and should be fully committed to supporting the practice.
 
Treat others the way they want to be treated. Understanding how different cultures… perceive a handshake, handle eye contact, and deal with the boundaries of personal space, can help to avert misunderstandings. When in doubt, ask. If you accidentally cause offense, apologize. Be respectful of personal and cultural boundaries. Encourage your colleagues to do the same through your example as this will make your workplace more welcoming and productive for everyone.

For diversity to bring strength, it must be valued and integrated into company practices and philosophy. This takes time and a commitment to celebrate diversity. It requires the willingness to be open-minded and non-judgmental about the value of differences.

Topics: Diversity and Inclusion, diversity in healthcare, cultural diversity, diverse workplace culture

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

Diversity in Healthcare for Patients and Nurses

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Jun 01, 2017 @ 11:24 AM

Diversity-Blog-Image.pngUnique challenges encompass the delivery of quality healthcare in the entire world as a whole. People of all ages are terminally ill -- with approximately half the American population fighting hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis and mental related illness.

As a Nurse, you are required by the healthcare profession to be sensitive, demonstrate cultural awareness and behavioral competence necessary to ensuring healthcare issues are handled effectively. 

Medical professionals worldwide have voiced sentiments on the importance to further diversify the healthcare workforce. This is mainly because the entire healthcare profession is focused on transitioning to a patient-centered healthcare system in which patients demand more personalized care, high level rapport and open communication. 

Discrimination, stereotyping, prejudice and racism are the most common barriers toward achieving diversity in healthcare for patients and Nurses. There are multiple scenarios when you may show lack of sensitivity without even noticing it, unintentionally offending patients. You should for instance:

  • Ask the patient how he or she may wish to be addressed or simply addressing him or her by their last name as a show of respect.
  • Inquire of the patient’s knowledge on treatments and health problems.
  • Forge the patient’s trust so as to establish a formidable nurse-patient relationship.

Diversity awareness in healthcare is however an active, continuous conscious process through which Nurses recognize the differences and similarities within various cultural groupings. As Nurses, we can only achieve diversity in healthcare by carefully evaluating and appreciating cultural group(s) differences.

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Topics: diversity in nursing, patient care, Diversity and Inclusion, diversity in healthcare

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