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Research shows that there is a positive correlation between levels of cultural awareness in nurses and patient satisfaction. When a patient feels understood from various aspects – culture, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, etc. – it increases their trust in the healthcare provider. In turn, this opens up communication channels and improves the likelihood that the patient will be more willing to self-disclose information pertinent to diagnosis.

Diversity in the nursing field has been continuously increasing. A 2018 survey conducted by Campaign for Action found that almost 70% of the nurse workforce in the United States consist of racial minority groups. In comparison, that percentage was 24% in 2009. With this large number, important conversations between diverse groups are held that can help nurses and hospitals improve personalized care for all.

It Starts at the Hiring Process

The best way to promote diversity and inclusivity in the workplace is to hire nurses who identify with various communities. Not only can they dispel stereotypes of those groups, they also provide insight on the community’s struggles. This is very important because having misconceptions can be a roadblock when providing care for patients. Being able to understand a patient’s values, morals, beliefs, and more will positively affect patient-healthcare communication.

Create Learning Environments in the Workplace

Hold workshops to increase cultural awareness and sensitivity within the hospital to provide the staff learning opportunities to gain more clarity about minority groups. Though we may not be individually responsible to learn the ins and outs of every single demographic, nursing staff can increase their knowledge pool by sharing information with one another. This also provides team-building opportunities where nurses can come together to learn effective methods to communicate with a variety of patients.

Inclusivity Comes With Practice

Learning is the first step towards positive change, but applying that knowledge is just as important. Start off by eliminating negative speech in your everyday conversations. Being able to comfortably talk with patients comes with lots and lots of practice. Knowledge does not equate to skill, so it will take many conversations in order to develop communication practices to implement on different patients. Of course, having a diverse nursing staff to practice with will be even more beneficial.

Encourages Social Change and Reform

Diversity in the nursing field also gives marginalized groups a voice on policies that have room for improvement. How would we know that a group cannot get access to healthcare if we weren’t aware of the issue in the first place? When nurses take the time to listen to their patient’s stories, over time change can be implemented within the hospital, and across other facilities nationwide.

Eisenhower Health takes pride for our support in diversifying the nurse workforce. Join our nursing staff in making healthcare a positive experience for all by visiting our Careers page for available nurse openings.

Originally posted on 26/3/2020

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