Cultural Diversity in Nursing


Disparities in health care continue to be persistently prevalent across various patient demographics. Patients who fall under the LGBTQIA community marginalized racial and ethnic groups, and low-income populations still lag behind other patients regarding the quality of treatment they get and the health outcomes they experience. It has been shown repeatedly in the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report that some demographic groups continue to be provided with substandard treatment.

What are the most effective ways for the healthcare community to address this issue? Even though the nursing profession has used various tactics, cultural diversity in nursing is one of the essential tools for eliminating health inequalities. All of this contributes to better results for patients. Again, this helps us answer the question, what does it mean to have diversity in nursing?

What is diversity in nursing?

Diversity refers to more than simply racial and gender disparities; it also includes variances in disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, and veteran status, along with variations in background, experience, education, and even philosophy. Diversity in nursing helps nurses build awareness and comprehension of different patient groups’ diverse ideas and attitudes, which benefits the patients.

The Importance of Diversity in Catering to the Needs of Patients

Patients of varying ages, financial backgrounds, racial and ethnic identities, educational levels, and gender identities are all under the care of nurses. Establishing the communication and trust necessary to offer adequate treatment to such a varied patient group may present several obstacles. Nevertheless, nurses may be more equipped to satisfy the requirements of their patients when they have the same backgrounds as their patients. This often allows nurses to get insight into their patients’ treatment preferences and decision-making processes.

When nurses are aware of such variances, they can better react in ways that prevent such differences from becoming obstacles to delivering high-quality medical care. In addition, this plays an integral part in establishing excellent communication and delivering culturally competent treatment, both of which are essential in the fight against health inequalities.

The Relationship Between Diverse Patients and Care That Takes into Account Their Culture

Culturally competent treatment implies that it is adapted to suit the cultural requirements of a patient in addition to meeting the patient’s medical needs. It also means that care is personalized in such a way that it respects and celebrates the patient’s culture. As with diversity, culture in this context refers to a comprehensive and all-encompassing concept that goes beyond nationality and language background categories.

To provide culturally competent treatment, nurses must overcome several obstacles, including cultural preconceptions and linguistic challenges.

In many cases, diversity in the nursing workforce makes it simpler to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of providing culturally competent care. To begin, a nursing team comprised of people from various backgrounds has a broader and deeper understanding of the numerous cultures they serve. Considering one history of diversity in the nursing example, there is a possibility that black nurses have unique insights into black patients that give them an edge when attempting to establish rapport, make culturally acceptable treatment suggestions, or prevent cultural misunderstandings. Similarly, a transgender nurse could have unique and insightful knowledge about the requirements and issues particular to patients who identify as part of the LGBTQIA community.

Nurses can offer their cultural expertise when working in environments that promote culture and diversity in nursing. Because of this, the whole team has a greater understanding of how to fulfill the needs of patients and provide treatment that is both equitable and culturally competent across a wide range of patient demographics.

Why is diversity important in nursing?

It is incumbent upon nurse leaders to ensure that the nursing community reflects the shifting demographics of their patients to cater to the requirements of the nation’s increasingly varied population. To do this, you must recruit and cultivate diversity and inclusion in nursing.

To achieve health equality in the United States, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing has identified the recruitment of diverse nurses as a high priority. This is since diversity in nursing provides improvement:

  • Instruction of Patients through diversity in nursing education
  • Observance of prescribed medical procedures
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Conversations between medical personnel and patients
  • The state of one’s health
  • The Value of Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Nursing Workforce

Patients have a positive reaction when they interact with a varied healthcare team. Patients tend to feel more involved and participative in their care when they see themselves represented in the nursing team. When patients receive treatment from persons who speak their language, practice their religion, or have other cultural connections, they feel comfortable and at ease. The greater the degree to which patients and nurses can establish a rapport, the greater the likelihood that patients will speak honestly and trust treatment suggestions.

In addition, the presence of generational diversity in nursing, which entails a variety of cultures working together, indicates inclusion. Patients are informed that they have entered a setting where their healthcare practitioners will make every effort to treat them fairly, notwithstanding any disparities that may exist between them.

1.      Diversity in nursing fosters a growth mindset by its very nature

Diversity in nursing helps nurses communicate more effectively with their patients and fosters a creative atmosphere in the workplace. The nursing workforce benefits from more diversity because it provides more opportunities for nurses to learn from their colleagues about how to provide more effective care to a variety of patient groups. This not only encourages the development of more culturally competent practices but also helps nurses communicate knowledge with one another, enabling them to alter how they provide care.

2.      Diversity helps to address diversity issues in nursing in the care provided to minority patients

A diverse nursing team may also assist in resolving challenges that arise in the care of individuals of color due to conscious and unconscious prejudice. For instance, several studies have shown that medical professionals underdiagnose and undertreat the pain experienced by patients of African descent.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, the researchers discovered that white participants were less able to perceive pain on the faces of black people than they were able to recognize pain on the faces of white people. Prejudices of this kind may contribute to the data that demonstrate medical personnel often disregard the suffering of black patients.

Increasing diversity in nursing, on the other hand, may assist in alleviating this issue and others that arise from racial and cultural prejudices.

3.      The Influence that Nurses from Different Backgrounds Will Have on the Future of Their Profession

It is possible for nurses from a variety of backgrounds, and particularly nurses of color, to play a crucial part in the development of the nursing profession in the years to come. The success of nurses from underrepresented groups will be a factor in determining whether or not the healthcare community will be able to successfully recruit the varied nurses required to meet the growing need for a more diverse nursing workforce. The same can be said for promoting gender diversity in nursing.

The most recent survey of the nursing workforce in the United States, the National Nursing Workforce Survey, found that individuals of color make up just 19 percent of the profession. On the other hand, the United States Census Bureau reports that individuals of color constitute 28 percent of the total population. These kinds of inconsistencies lead to voids in care.

The successes of nurses who come from a variety of backgrounds have the potential to encourage members of underrepresented groups to enter the nursing profession. These nurses can break down preconceptions and misunderstandings about patients and increase cultural awareness among the nursing staff. They may lead the way in this endeavor.

4.      Encourage diversity in the nursing profession

The advancement of diversity within the nursing profession may assist in transforming healthcare and provide improved health equality. Those motivated by chance to eliminate health inequalities and fight for social justice can investigate the professions of nursing and public health as potential career paths to pursue. The nursing programs that St. Catherine University provides at both the undergraduate and graduate levels are intended to provide graduates with the skills necessary to provide culturally competent care.

How to promote diversity in nursing

·         Action for Advocacy and Implementation

Improved health outcomes are only one benefit of diversity’s many faces. The three main areas that nursing executives should concentrate on to achieve the most progress in their organizations are:

·         Equality

Every nurse working in a healthcare facility will not have the same expertise. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in nursing or an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), an MSN may take your knowledge and skills to the next level (BSN).

However, a nurse and a patient in a healthcare context should be treated equally. Rosie Stenhouse, a contributor to the US National Library of Medicine, states, “nurses must treat people differently, avoid making assumptions about them, accept variety and individual choice, respect and preserve their dignity and human rights.”

·         Cultural Competency

According to Nurse Journal, there are four facets to culturally competent care:

  • Self-awareness of one’s cultural worldview
  • Affective biases toward cross-cultural differences
  • Awareness of various cultural norms and assumptions
  • Intercultural competence

When these four tenets of nursing are fully implemented, nurses may establish a strong foundation of trust with their patients. To provide the best possible care to their patients, nurses need to be aware of and sensitive to their patients’ various cultural origins, according to Dr. Gregory Knapik, DNP, associate professor of nursing at Columbia University.

·         Representation

The representation may be seen as a return to Bettencourt’s comparison of history to high-level mathematics. For instance, a nursing team composed entirely of white, cisgender women in their 40s could struggle to connect with a young, Asian-American transgender woman and vice versa. The patient may feel awkward if the doctor walks in on this situation. Because of this, the patient may avoid further treatment or be reluctant to seek it elsewhere.

To what extent does the United States lack adequate representation? According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), around 20 percent of active nurses are people of color, and only 9 percent are males. However, the proportion of registered nurses with bachelor’s or higher degrees is increasing.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that nurses from underrepresented groups are more likely to get advanced degrees in nursing than their white colleagues. The percentages of Asian (75.6%), African American (52.5%), and Hispanic nurses are similar. That’s what will bring us where we need to go,” says Brigit M. Carter, a nurse, assistant professor, and associate dean for diversity and inclusivity at the Duke University School of Nursing.

Cultural diversity in nursing examples

When looking at diversity in nursing examples, it is essential to brainstorm areas where we can obtain information about diversity in nursing. As a result, one main area you can obtain diversity illustrations in nursing includes cultural diversity in nursing journal articles. Bringing individuals from various origins and cultures together and then fostering an atmosphere that acknowledges and embraces those differences are the main themes of the majority of cultural diversity in nursing essays. They aid in creating an environment where individuals may be themselves. Some of these examples include the following;

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Language
  • Gender
  • Age


Patient safety will become more dependent on cultural diversity in nursing in the years to come. Regarding patient safety, nurses and patients would benefit significantly from improved communication and a shared cultural understanding. More data on how cultural differences might compromise patient safety is needed to advance this concept. Medication mistakes, patient mistreatment, and patient discontent need accurate data on their occurrence rates. For those with sensory impairments, patients need access to information in their native language (or one of the top 5 languages spoken worldwide) and resources in sign language, audio, and visual formats. Hospitals should have more leaflets, movies, and culturally competent nurses.

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