Diversity and Cultural Inclusion in Nursing — Part 2

In my last post, I discussed diversity and inclusion from the level of healthcare providers, and how the cultural composition of the workforce as well as the public — patients — affect patient care.

And while diversity in general has been a hot topic nationwide due to the Black Lives Matter movement, it takes on significant importance in healthcare, as it affects the quality of patience care as well as the strength of the provider teams.

Still, much stands in the way of initiatives’ success, despite the benefits to an organization.

Myths vs. facts. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding diversity initiatives, which can lead to lack of support.

  • Diversity is a problem. No, it is an opportunity!
  • Diversity is HR’s responsibility. No, it is my responsibility. It is your responsibility. We all play a significant role (employees, managers, supervisors).
  • Diversity is about race and gender. It is much broader than that. It used to be called cultural diversity, but the conversation should be more inclusive.
  • Diversity is about minorities and women in the workplace. Diversity is about your internal employees as well as your external customers. Understand the diversity within your employee base and your customers and anticipate their needs.

Benefits of a diverse culture. Here are some of the ways a diverse culture can benefit an organization.

  • Access to a variety of viewpoints to consider
  • Improve operations
  • Improve facility reputation
  • Employee recruitment
  • Employee retention
  • Patient satisfaction

So, where do we go from here? What comes next should be continuous and ongoing.

The goal is to create an environment where cultural competence is both welcomed and rewarded.

Acknowledge and understand all the ways we are different and similar and come to grips with our own biases and prejudices. The intent is to minimize and eliminate prejudice and bias in your workplace and business practices.

Create a more inclusive work environment for both employees and customers.

Create a culture where the nurse acclimates quickly to be part of the healthcare team.

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Assess Your Team’s Culture. Start the process of managing cultural diversity by assessing the cultural competence of your own team and employees.

The ability to be agile to collaborate effectively with people from various cultures.

Determine awareness of your own cultural worldview, knowledge of other cultural practices and worldviews, spoken and unspoken attitude towards cultural differences.

Take Steps to Be More Culturally Diverse and Inclusive

  • Gain commitment from the C-suite
  • Engage all employees in efforts
  • Target key performance indicators
  • Align efforts with company goals
  • Go beyond legal and policy requirements
  • Promote community and comfort
  • Treat others as they want to be treated
  • Ward off change resistance
  • Include as many employees as possible

Many healthcare organizations include diversity in a mission statement, but they need to put statements into action. Staffing companies can help in adding cultural diversification, especially through international nurses.

Cathy Vollmer

Cathy Vollmer
A registered nurse, Cathy Vollmer is VP of operations at Conexus Medstaff.

Cathy Vollmer

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