Effects And Benefits Of Diversity In Nursing

A lot of people nowadays prefer to pursue a career in the healthcare industry because despite the economic downturns, professions in this industry remain stable and in demand. When it comes to healthcare professions one of the most popular are the nurses especially registered nurses. Through the years, the nursing profession has greatly developed providing more career options and enhancements as well as education paths for aspiring nurses.

There are registered nurses, licensed practice nurses, advanced practice nurses, vocational nurses, nurse aides, and many more. Although there are many nurses all over the world, a lot of countries still experience nursing shortage like in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and more. In the United States, a lot of states still suffer from nursing shortage.

The Nursing Shortage And Minority Groups

NursingSome experts believe that this nursing shortage will bring some positive effects in some point in terms of increasing the ethnical diversity in the healthcare professions especially the nurses. According to the Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce’s final report, less than 50% of the professional nurses working in the country are part of the minorities.

The total population in the United States is composed of 25% minorities, which include different cultural groups and races all over the world. However, only 9% of minorities are part of the nurse workforce in the US, which includes the American Indians, Hispanics, and Blacks.

According to the same report, 4.2% of the medical school professors are minorities while 10% of nursing faculties in various academic institutions are also minorities. The problem with the small population of minority in the nursing workforce is that their population is not enough to serve the total population, which are increasingly composed of non-whites or minorities.

Effect Of Cultural Differences And Language Barrier To Healthcare

According to experts, increasing the diversity in nursing professions will improve the cultural competence not only in nursing care but in the healthcare system. Some people may just ignore the effect of difference in culture when it comes to providing healthcare but in a lot of cases, cultural diversity can affect the efficiency of healthcare services especially when difference in language is involved.

Difference in language can cause problems and is becoming a critical issue in the healthcare industry especially in the United States where 20% of the population speak a language other than English. According to the Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce, patients who belong to the minority group usually receive poorer healthcare and services due to language barrier and cultural differences. They also seem to experience higher mortality rate due to common diseases like heart disease, diabetes, HIV or AIDS, mental illnesses, and more. A lot of children in the minority group also die of leukaemia than the white children.

To solve the issue of poor healthcare due to cultural differences and language barrier, experts recommend increasing the diversity in the nursing workforce. Increased diversity will be highly beneficial and will solve the problem of cultural differences in the provision of healthcare and services to patients of various culture and language.

Based on the same report, experts predicted that the population of non-whites or people from other races and culture will increase in the coming years and will compose more than 50% of the total population of the country. To provide the best healthcare especially nursing care for this diverse population, nurses can be taught about cultural diversity and respecting other people’s culture and beliefs but the problem in language difference might be a little difficult to achieve.

To better address the growing issues of cultural diversity and language barrier in healthcare, increasing the diversity in nursing workforce will be a much better solution.

Addressing Nursing Shortage Plus Cultural Diversity

The commission also provided some recommendations in order to increase diversity in the nursing workforce and overall healthcare industry. These recommendations will not only improve cultural competence in terms of delivering of healthcare services to diverse patients but will also be a great help in solving the nursing shortage in the country.

  • More nursing “bridge” and accelerated degree programs to encourage more non-nursing graduates and working professionals to enrol in nursing degree programs within shorter period of education.
  • More scholarships and financial support systems like loans and tuition reimbursements to eliminate financial barriers in nursing education.
  • Promote better support and services for the minority population who are pursuing healthcare professions through counselling, mentoring, and to encourage the minority to enrol in nursing programs.
  • Government should support diversity programs and increase funding for organizations and programs not only to solve cultural difference but also to solve the nursing shortage.

Different Nursing Degree Programs

The first recommendation proposed by the commission is actually being done for years now with the development of nursing degree programs with more flexible, faster and shorter education period. A lot of schools and colleges in the country are now offering accelerated nursing degree programs for students who want to achieve their nursing degree within a shorter period. Instead of 4-year education, these accelerated nursing degree programs take about 2 to 3 years of study. However, students enrolled in these programs need to study full-time due to fast-paced learning system.

For the working professionals who already hold a degree in nursing like an associate degree in nursing, nursing schools nowadays also offer a bridge program wherein they can attain their nursing degrees within 2 to 3 years of study instead of spending another 4 years of education in nursing. These nursing bridge programs are also developed so working professionals can stay employed while finishing their nursing degree.

If you want a more flexible and convenient curriculum while still working you can also opt for the online nursing education programs offered by accredited schools and prestigious universities in the country. There are a lot of online nursing degree programs that are accredited by the nursing licensing board such as the online RN to BSN programs, online LPN-to-BSN programs suitable for licensed practical or vocational nurse who want to earn a BSN degree, and second degree and accelerated second degree BSN.

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