Why Aren’t Our Nurses as Diverse as Our Patients?
Leslie Harder, MN, RN-BC
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<b>Background: </b>The American Association of Colleges reported a “strong connection between a culturally diverse nursing workforce and the ability to provide quality, culturally competent patient care.” According to the US Census Bureau, the percentage of ethnic and racial minority groups was 37% in 2012 while nurses from minority backgrounds “represent 19% of the registered nurse (RN) workforce.” The 2010 IOM report on the future of nursing states “the current nursing workforce will need to grow more diverse.” The increasing diversity in the patient population requires nursing to adopt methods to address the educational pipeline to attract and retain nurses from underrepresented groups. <b>Purpose:</b> The purpose of the project was for the NPD Practitioner, in collaboration with organization key stakeholders, to identify innovative methods to 1.) Recruit diverse nurses to the organization; 2.) Introduce nursing to secondary students who may be interested in healthcare professions; and, 3.) Align with scholarly organizations whose purpose is to support and provide resources for diverse primary and secondary students who are economically disadvantaged. <b>Results</b>: The organization’s initiative is in it’s infancy with significant long term goals. Relationships with local schools of nursing whose programs include a focus on diversity have been strengthened and partnerships are forming. Current projects include institution cultural competency training, diversity and inclusion education for Nurse Leaders, Diversity Senior Practicum placements, partnership with new BSN program from Native American Reservation, visibility at RN Diversity Professional Organizations, and Nurse Camp for high school juniors and seniors.
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