Research Makes Case for Expanding Diversity in Nursing
Monday, October 3, 2022
Nurses are at the forefront of patient outcomes, and experts say a workforce that better reflects the population it serves can help reduce healthcare disparities.
In Indiana, the percentages of nursing school graduates who are Black or Hispanic are lower than in the general population.
Associate Provost for Social Mission and Academic Excellence at Chamberlain University Dr. Kenya Beard has studied the issue of improving diversity in the nursing profession.
"Diversity among health professionals is associated with improved access to care, and the two overarching issues is access and quality," said Beard. "So, greater patient choice and satisfaction when we have a diverse workforce; it's better patient-clinician communication."
Beard noted that diversity is multi-dimensional, and includes race, ethnicity, socio-economic factors and gender. For example, men represent only 12% of nurses.
Beard said improving diversity in the profession starts with a more inclusive learning environment. She explained that when students sees themselves represented among the faculty, they realize a nursing degree is something they can achieve as well.
Beard explained that unconscious attitudes among medical professionals can impact patient outcomes.
For example, because of their own life experience, a nurse might assume incorrectly that a patient has the resources to drive to a pharmacy and purchase a medication when they leave a hospital.
"When you bring people into a learning environment that have different experiences," said Beard, "not just based on race but based on socioeconomic factors as well, these different experiences create a rich, robust dialogue that helps everyone understand how these social determinants of health impact patient outcomes."
Beard added that with culturally responsive teaching, nursing educators strengthen students' ability to recognize and respond in an inclusive way to diverse perspectives.
"When these students graduate," said Beard, "they are better positioned to have a conversation with patients and their colleagues in a way that shows cultural humility and a greater degree of understanding the difficulties of navigating healthcare and achieving your best level of health."
Chamberlain University, which has an Indianapolis campus, has what's called a Social Determinants of Learning model.
Beard said it addresses disparities by focusing on barriers to student success - including economic, housing and transportation insecurity, and psychosocial health.
Looking backwards to move forward: Using a social mission lens in nursing education Darcy-Mahoney et al/the Journal of Professional Nursing 9/1/20
How Closely Do Indianas RN Graduates Reflect the States Diversity? Campaign for Action 2/3/20
get more stories like this via email
North Dakota's farming landscape is seeing policy shifts dealing with corporate ownership of agricultural interests. Now, there's fresh debate at the …
Advocates for unpaid family caregivers in Maine say they'll need continued support beyond the recently passed paid family and medical leave program…
The Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida are filing lawsuits against the deacti…
A new report from WGU Labs, a nonprofit affiliate of Western Governors University based in Millcreek, Utah, is shedding light on the importance of …
Many older residents of Washington state are facing strains on their budgets -- and the government programs that could assist them are underused…
Bloomington and Indianapolis are getting some international recognition for the work they're doing to help the environment. The two have been named …
Health and Wellness
New Mexico activists are tapping today's World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, to announce they'll ask the State Legislature to provide more money for treatment …
Bipartisan legislation that proposes the installation of solar panels in schools across Pennsylvania awaits a vote in the state Senate. The Solar …