Diversity and inclusion in nursing allow equitable healthcare for all individuals. The absence of an environment that respects the unique backgrounds and experiences of everyone would be catastrophic to national health because some groups of people may feel unwelcome by nurses.
Nurses are at the front line of patient care and must interact with a diverse population. If you’re interested in promoting diversity and inclusion in nursing, you can join the nursing profession by getting the relevant qualification – for example, through one of the accelerated nursing programs in Missouri. The Hybrid Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) offered by Rockhurst University provides comprehensive nursing education to those holding a bachelor’s degree in any field.
As one of Missouri’s few hybrid ABSN programs, it offers 100% online coursework and a 10-day campus residency for clinical instruction at Rockhurst’s state-of-the-art simulation lab. The program will expose you to various spheres of care, including skilled nursing, hospice care and long-term acute care. It also offers comprehensive clinical placement support, which could allow you to focus on coursework and pass the NCLEX exams in 16 months.
If you’re hoping to find out how to influence change and embrace diversity in nursing, here are five ways.
Five ways to promote diversity and inclusion in nursing
Diversity and inclusion are essential today because everyone longs to feel accepted, especially by those who offer care services. Here are five of the many ways that you can do it as a nurse.
Foster cultural competence
Cultural competence is the ability to interact effectively with people from different cultures. Fostering cultural competence involves understanding and appreciating other cultures, beliefs and values and using this understanding to deliver culturally sensitive patient care.
You can develop cultural competence by learning about the diverse cultures you may encounter in your practice. You can also do this by attending seminars and workshops on cultural diversity, participating in cultural immersion experiences, or actively engaging with and learning from patients of different cultural backgrounds.
When you do this, you enhance the patient-nurse relationship and improve communication. How? Patients are more likely to feel comfortable discussing their health concerns with a nurse who understands their cultural background and treats them respectfully. This, in turn, will lead to more accurate diagnosis and treatment, which will ultimately improve patient outcomes.
Advocate for diversity in education
Advocating for diversity in education is a way to include a wide range of experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds in the nursing curricula. This is because nursing education should reflect the diversity of the patient population. This involves going beyond textbooks and incorporating real-world scenarios that reflect the diversity of the patient population. For example, rather than discussing a particular treatment’s effect on a demographic, nursing training should integrate diverse cultural groups or age groups in such lessons.
Nurses can also encourage more diverse representation in clinical scenarios. These could be modules that address healthcare disparities and the unique health concerns of different demographic groups. This is important because it will help future nurses recognize the need for culturally competent care and ultimately promote an inclusive culture.
Advocate for equitable hiring practices
Nurses, especially those in leadership or administrative roles, can influence hiring policies and practices by voicing the need for a diverse workforce and upholding these policies. Fair and equitable hiring means that every group, minority or not, are represented in the workforce so far as they are skilled.
Advocating for equitable hiring practices might involve pushing for unbiased recruitment processes, such as anonymous application reviews. This means that identifiable applicant information is removed to prevent unconscious bias. Nurses can also lobby for diverse interview panels to ensure that multiple perspectives are represented in the hiring process.
As a senior nurse, you can also champion diversity by mentoring and encouraging individuals from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue careers in nursing. You can start by guiding them through the application and interview process and then provide support and advice throughout their career. Equitable hiring practices will lead to a diverse workforce and equity in care.
Create inclusive policies and procedures
Creating inclusive policies may involve implementing anti-discrimination policies, promoting equal opportunities, and ensuring a safe and supportive environment for all staff members. This is important because every staff member in a healthcare organization must feel like they belong there, regardless of their background.
You may also need to draft clear guidelines that prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law. These policies should be comprehensive to encompass all areas of employment – from hiring and promotion to compensation, benefits and termination. Inclusive policies and procedures will protect the rights of individuals and help secure trust and support in the workplace.
Encourage mentorship programs
Mentorship programs can be a powerful tool for promoting diversity and inclusion in nursing. Why? Nurses, especially those with more experience, can actively participate in mentorship programs within their healthcare institutions. They can provide valuable guidance and support to new (or aspiring) nurses to help them navigate the field. The mentor can also help the mentee develop their skills, share insights about the profession, and provide advice on overcoming challenges. They can even advocate for their mentees and open doors to opportunities that they might not have had access to otherwise.
The mentor-mentee relationships can extend to a platform to share diverse experiences and perspectives. This will help develop mutual understanding and respect. How? The mentees can share insights about their unique experiences and cultural background to enrich the mentor’s knowledge and cultural competence. The mentor can also give the mentee a broader perspective on the profession to encourage career growth and eventual success.
Integrating these strategies can help nurses promote diversity and inclusion within their profession. Not only will this contribute to a more inclusive healthcare environment, but it will also improve patient care and outcomes. It all starts with developing cultural competence to understand diverse cultures and backgrounds. This will not only help broaden their understanding of different cultures but will help create more personalized and effective care. Promoting diversity and inclusion will help enrich the nursing profession and add value to the good work done to secure the country’s health.