Diversity in Healthcare

Introduction, Purpose, and Background
Diversity has been a sensitive topic in all disciplines. One of the most affected areas is healthcare. Despite a strong focus on healthcare diversity today, this vision seems to be as far from reality for future healthcare at all levels, especially within the nursing profession. Considering increasing recognition of the priceless contribution diversity makes in providing culturally competent nursing and nurturing creativity, racial minorities continue to be sparsely distributed and under-represented among nurses. This paper aims to unravel the complexities of this issue as it personifies a conceptual curiosity into learning and understanding some underlying factors contributing to minority representation in nursing, which can also provide insight toward policy intervention. Focusing a spotlight on this urgent matter aims to force an actual change in the healthcare industry.
Purpose Statement
This study aims to determine obstacles hindering diversity in nursing and suggest evidence-based mechanisms for pushing inclusion within the field. To enlighten policy initiatives directed at achieving a more diverse and equitable nursing workforce, this study clarifies the underlying factors that have contributed to this disparity and its implications.
Problem Statement
Notwithstanding the prevalent complexity in nursing, the underrepresentation of racial minorities remains a formidable obstacle that tenacious efforts will not solve. The issues have affected nursing operations as skilled labor is left out due to prejudice. Systemic racism and unconscious bias, among other racially discriminatory practices, are examples of structures that create hurdles that separate people and prevent minorities from advancing in the workforce. The widespread absence of diversity in healthcare hurts organizational and system capacity to provide culturally competent treatment, in addition to undermining the principles and values at the core of equity and social justice.
Research Question
What type of health policy can be implemented to instill structural barriers that negatively impact nurses’ diversity and, therefore, create a workforce in the healthcare industry that is healthy by nature?
The literature on education presents a wide range of perspectives on the complicated nature of diversity, which continues to be one of the challenges facing the field of nursing. Researchers have, time and again, narrowed down the structures of racism, unconscious bias, and discriminatory practices as significant hindrances to workforce diversity. Based on research results, the lack of diversity has even impacted service delivery as it extends toward patients. For instance, the study by Nardi et al. (2020) shows the deep-abiding roots of structural racism in preserving inequities in the nursing profession while emphasizing disparity in recruitment and retention practices consequent to unconscious bias. In addition, there is a focus on shared experiences for nurse leaders who are members of minority groups, with particular attention placed on the subtle manifestations that systemic barriers assume within diverse organizational settings (Nardi et al., 2020).
Much of the literature clarified diversity barriers and highlighted several advantages stemming from a more diverse nursing labor force (Uman et al., 2020). According to Baig et al. (2019), the positive relationship between a diverse climate and innovative work behaviors that nurses portray has shown how value based on organizational excellence is driven by diversity. Moreover, in their study, Shepherd et al. (2018) highlight cultural competence as necessary to provide patient-centered care and correct healthcare gaps. The nursing field should operate as an entity, eliminating discriminatory actions, as it is one of the most important fields (Nelson et al., 2023). Therefore, these insights should be employed in the policy intervention procedures in this research journey that would favor diversity, equity, and inclusion within the nursing profession. Based on a critical review of current literature and an in-depth analysis, we aspire to foster groundbreaking transitions within the healthcare terrain.

Baig, L. D., Azeem, M. F., & Paracha, A. (2022). Cultivating innovative work behavior of nurses through diversity climate: The mediating role of job crafting. SAGE Open Nursing, 8, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F23779608221095432
Nardi, D., Waite, R., Nowak, M., Hatcher, B., Hines‐Martin, V., & Stacciarini, J.-M. R. (2020). Achieving health equity through eradicating structural racism in the United States: A call to action for nursing leadership. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 52(6), 696–704. https://doi.org/10.1111/jnu.12602
Nelson, Y. M., Bundy, J., Harmon, E., Hammond, L., Robinson, K., Lyons, N., Vessels, N., Bush, K., & Thomas-Payne, D. (2023). Factors affecting the advancement of Black nurses into leadership roles: A scoping review. Nursing Outlook, 71(4), Article 102000. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.outlook.2023.102000
Shepherd, S. M., Willis-Esqueda, C., Paradies, Y., Sivasubramaniam, D., Sherwood, J., & Brockie, T. (2018). Racial and cultural minority experiences and perceptions of health care provision in a mid-western region. International Journal for Equity in Health, 17, Article 33. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-018-0744-x
Uman, T., Edfors, E., & Jakobsson, L. (2020). Cultural diversity in nursing teams: Triggers, team process, and contingencies. International Journal of Health Professions, 7(1), 90–100. https://doi.org/10.2478/ijhp-2020-0009

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