The workplace environment in the modern world requires great diversity in order to cope with the ever-changing needs and desires of customers and clients in a comfortable and adequate manner. For this reason, diversity is finding a common place in work ethics and with its greater interest. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the elements of diversity in the workplace that are important to nursing, and the impact they have on providing a competent nursing care.
Importance of Diversity in the Workplace
The importance of diversity in the workplace cannot be underestimated, especially in nursing. There are many times, when nurses are faced with the controversial situations in the workplace. For instance, certain religions and cultures demand that males do not see or touch a female patient and vice versa. In such situations, the nurses, who are affiliated to such cultures and religions, may find themselves in the painful dilemma situations (Huston, 2010). Their loyalty will be torn between upholding their religious or cultural demands and meeting the requirements and expectations of their work. Further, language barriers may pose a communication challenge to the nurses, who are not averse with many languages. Attending effectively to a patient, with whom one cannot communicate clearly and concisely, can prove to be an uphill task in the nursing profession (Maier-Lorentz, 2008). These, among other cases, highlight the importance and essentiality of diversity in the nursing profession.
The United States is a multi-ethnic nation. In fact, according to the national census survey results, there are more than twelve races including whites, black Americans, American Indians, Chicanos (Mexican Americans) among many others in the US. With such a rich ethnic diversity, it calls for an equally rich ethnically diverse nursing workforce. An ethnically diverse workforce will, among other things, prove decisive in providing the best medical attention possible, increase efficiency in obtaining and disseminating crucial information and provide patients with options on the ways to attend to them (Huston, 2010). Furthermore, it will be important in enabling the nurses on call to undertake their duties with greater zeal due to the many options available.
According to the results of a survey conducted, by 2050 the population of the United States will predominantly (more than fifty percent) consist of the non-whites. With this fact in mind, it would be highly advisable to meet the anticipated changes. in order to ensure a fully competent and ethnic-minded workforce. Different ethnic backgrounds come with their particular cultural specifications, which call for a person with an in-depth knowledge of these specifications in order to accord satisfactory attendance to the patients and clients (Mason, 2012). Furthermore, many patients and customers feel more at ease with someone they can relate to, be it ethnically, in terms of gender, background or even religion. It remains an unquestionable fact that a patient, who is more settled and comfortable with his or her surrounding, is more likely to recover quickly and completely, than a patient, who is devoid of comfort and a settled mind.
Ethnic diversity should be viewed as a positive phenomenon in the nursing profession, and not as a drawback. For that reason, hospitals and healthcare providing institutions should be sure to provide an avenue, through which their nursing staff can acquire knowledge and skills on handling diversity, not just as regards of the patients, but also colleagues and fellow workers. Nurses should also make it a personal objective to be as diverse as they can in order to improve their service delivery. They need to ensure they are averse with most, if not all, cultural beliefs and requirements among the various ethnic groups (Mason, 2012). At the end of the day, an ethnically diverse nursing workforce provides an array of beneficial serving opportunities in the workplace. It gives an opportunity for the underserved groups to obtain equal and qualitative opportunities for treatment.
Underrepresentation of Nursing in Minorities
Research demonstrates that American Indians, Blacks and Hispanics make up about 9% of the population of nurses in the United States. These groups constitute the minority groups in the US. Minority groups are subject to the poor quality healthcare (Huston, 2010). Research reveals that they have a higher mortality rate from the diseases, such as HIV/AIDS. Other diseases, such as heart attack among others, are more prevalent among the minorities. It is evident that a disproportionate workforce of white healthcare nurses cannot adequately meet the needs of the ever-increasing non-white population. It has been recommended that an increase of more than 20,000 minority nurses is required according to their proportion in the healthcare workforce.
Influence of Diversity on Nursing Care
Diversity in the nursing profession provides an opportunity for patients from all occupations to obtain qualitative and equal treatment and medical services from the healthcare providers. The term diversity is broad. It incorporates the employment of staff with all kinds of differences, including those with disabilities (Maier-Lorentz, 2008). Today, improvements in the field of nursing have enabled nurses with the certain disabilities to find it easy to perform their duties. For instance, introduction of talking thermometers has enabled the hiring of people (nurses) with visual and hearing defects. This is one of the milestones in nursing, aimed at achieving diversity.
Diversity in the workplace is crucial for a competent and efficient staff to enable a smooth and effective performance of their duties and responsibilities (Huston, 2010). In nursing, there is an even greater need for diversity, bearing in mind the ever-changing population trends leading to a diverse citizen base. Ethnicity is one aspect that is on an increase and requires constant updating, if nurses are to deliver quality services to the patients of different ethnic backgrounds. The influence of diversity in the nursing field has been immense, and has catapulted the quality and speed of service delivery in many healthcare providing institutions. With further diversity, especially with regard to demographic, gender and ethnic factors, more positive changes are sure to be achieved.