According 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.