The impact of diversity within the nursing field


The paper aims to comprehend diversity within the nursing field and the impact it has on the practice. The analysis first gives a background of demographics in nursing practice, explores the implications of diversity, discusses the education programs that educate professionals, and finally offers recommendations to improve cultural competency. The analysis contends that there is increasing diversity that could affect healthcare delivery, but the focus on the patient can help turn diversity challenges into opportunities.

Background: Diversity in Nursing

Diversity is the knowledge and appreciation of varying attitudes, religious beliefs, ways of thinking, and essential priorities in the healthcare behaviors of healthcare providers and their patients (Bleich et al., 2015). It is a reflection of both an implicit and explicit agreement that nurses have with the society in which they operate. It portrays their commitment to act ethically, in other words, be conversant with personal attitudes, ways of thinking, and focus with regards to interactions with fellow workers, patients, and the communities in which they operate. Diversity can have various dimensions, which include age, race, religious beliefs, and physical abilities, among other attributes.

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The male nursing population stands at 9% for those who are registered. It is 7% for those that are practicing with a license. At the undergraduate level, the number of men totals to 11% at the Bachelor of Science nursing and 9.4 in doctorate programs focused on practice. It shows that there has been a growth resulting from a decline in gender-based stigma on men working as nurses. Additionally, results from a changing perspective on their role in the economy. The highest representation of males is in the anesthetists, which stand at 41% (Melilo et al., 2016). The male anesthetists also earn twice as much as those working in other nursing fields.

In terms of race, it is evident that the minority constitutes a smaller percentage of the total workforce. For instance, over 75% are whites, 13% are black Americans, 6% are Asians, and 18% are Hispanic (Mooring, 2016). However, diversity has been on the rise for registered nurses as recent statistics show that over 30% constitute people of mixed backgrounds. There are even states where undergraduate students outnumber white learners. Moreover, non-white students are more likely to go for advanced studies as compared to white populations. For instance, 48% of nurses furthered their studies beyond associate degrees as compared to 75% of Asians and 52% of Africans (Melilo et al., 2016). The development could bring challenges in the management of diversity, which could affect the relationship between people of diverse backgrounds and, ultimately, the care patients receive.

Impact of diversity on healthcare services

Diversity mostly involves the recognition of the differences that exist. Despite the existence of variations, everyone receives respect. It culminates in integration as well as equality in nursing. It is important to note that professionals do not show care in the same way to everyone, but there are slight variances that do occur across different people (Kellet and Fitton, 2017).

Connecting the various elements of diversity in the setting of the clinic, it is evident that diverse and unique qualities lead to a working environment that is also unique. It creates room for increased uniqueness in the working environment (Armmer, 2017). As a result, there is more potential to attain progress and innovation. At the same time, there is increased productivity where healthcare providers achieve the goals they are supposed to accomplish with regard to the treatment of patients. Similarly, the uniqueness of patients enables a diverse community of patients to work together to identify problems and minimize possible conflicts to provide the best care for the patient.

According to Kellet and Fitton(2017), the existence of diversity enhances awareness of differences among patients and management, which can be advantageous and is evident in the increased quality output of every person engaged in caring for a patient. However, the differences that exist, if not taken care of, lead to conflicts and problems that could hurt the attention a patient gets. Diversity management based on morality, ethics, and legal criteria that nurses have regarding evading discrimination become a priority. Medical institutions take all measures to ensure that they attain the reputation of the nursing profession and the protection of human rights.

Diversity is a driver of cultural competence, which helps to attain the goals of the current nursing model of orienting all efforts towards quality services for a patient. The model, in particular, holds that patients are at the center of healthcare operations and ought to be considered as an equal partner and is one with a holistic personal attribute and is wholesome (Armmer, 2017). Hence a diverse community creates the urge in the management team to sensitize healthcare providers with different cultural backgrounds and demographics to be responsible and become actively involved in the progress of patients. It means that cultural competence will be high in this situation where there is reverence of diversity for both fellow healthcare providers and patients. There is the recognition of the cultures of other people through striving to know their backgrounds, which creates a high motivation for healthcare professionals to manage the differences that occur between them.

According to Kellet and Fitton(2017) indicates that it is essential that members of different cultures interact with one another and that cultural competence does not just arise automatically in institutions of healthcare through studying the cultures of other people. In other words, knowing the background of another person does not automatically translate to cultural competence. It is only through a concerted effort to work closely with people of different races, ages, sex, and religious beliefs that cultural competence exists.

Armmer(2017) holds the view that diversity, in some cases, is continually decreasing cultural competence because stereotyping is standard, as is the undesirable attitudes directed to people who are different. The trend emanates from the fact that the medical industry is part of the increasingly globalized world. Heterogeneity is increasing owing to migrations and changes in the socio-economic landscape. Healthcare professionals are working with diverse people and involuntarily struggle with stereotypes that they know about the racial, sexual, and cultural orientation of other people.

Educational programs that educate Professionals and their Cultural Diversity

In terms of learners’ age, the most significant proportionat 39.4 percent is in the years 21-25, followed by age bracket 31-40 at 19.3 percent and finally 26-30 at 18 percent. In terms of race, the whites are the highest at 46%, followed by black people at 14.1%, and then Hispanics at 29% (Melilo et al., 2016). The demographics pertain to the US, which, just like other nations, has a varied proportion of races owing to differences in migration patterns. However, the age of enrollment can provide an approximation of the nursing industry diversity as it is more generalizable to reflect other regions.

Despite the variation of diversity in numerous programs, there are attempts to increase diversity in the nursing programs, as seen by the case of two countries, namely the US and Cuba. These nations represent different levels of development and migration patterns.  First, in the case of the USA, the planners of the programs are making an effort to change the variation of diversity in the nursing program to attract learners from different backgrounds. For example, there are challenges for embracement which drive different regions to accept ethnic minorities (Fuller and Mott-Smith, 2017). Similarly, Cuba has entered into partnerships with countries such as Kenya and Botswana to allow nurses.

There are efforts in place to increase nursing standards for both national and international practice. An example is the Alma Alta and the ICN code of ethics. These standards are founded on a framework of social justice and hold the belief that every person is entitled to equal participation and have the same rights with regards to social-economical and learning dimensions. The culturally competent care follows the need to consider everyone as having the same right to participate in providing healthcare regardless of their backgrounds (Fuller and Mott-Smith, 2017). They call for the education of nurses and professional development on an equal platform.

A potential technique for improving diversity and cultural competence in nursing

Improvement of diversity and cultural competence starts with the design of education programs that must persistently monitor and evaluate the work a person is doing within research work and the profession itself. An identity that is professional within nurses improves through learning and experience in the clinical setting. Achieving it occurs through formal education, which ought to include knowledge gained from research work, which consists of critical thinking capacity and the ability to make decisions founded on evidence (Metcalfe, 2016). Healthcare experts ought to know different cultural backgrounds that co-workers and patients are conversant relate to. They ought to be of significance for professional nurses to gain insight.

There has to be specific research and adoption of particular measures, which include designing the cultural competence of future nurses. It will help to ensure that quality healthcare is provided and will act as a facilitator for the roles that a nurse plays in a diverse environment. Considering that the mobility of healthcare providers is a trend for the future, its contribution to religious and social differences might harm healthcare, which means that there is a risk of not attending to patients as required (Melilo et al., 2016). There is a need to create policies that encourage patients and even healthcare providers to exercise the freedom they have on their conscience. There has to be an increased awareness of such liberties and the encouragement of other people to apply them.

According to Metcalfe  (2016), healthcare professionals ought to be at the center of promoting diversity and ought to update themselves with expected challenges. They ought to know how the perspective on the variety of their co-workers and patients changes. There ought to be an emphasis on the personality of the people. A nurse that is culturally competent and strives towards decreasing negative aspects of diversity must be sensitive to the orientation of others concerning race, age, and religious orientation. To enhance cultural competency, proper care of patients must be of priority and that this goal ought to be kept in mind when performing their roles within the context of a diverse team.


Diversity is a big challenge in the nursing field about gender and race, where females and whites respectively dominate the profession. It poses challenges, with the main one being stereotyping. However, the problems are slowly becoming opportunities to improve healthcare. With the nursing profession increasingly becoming centered towards patients with diverse needs, then there is a motivation for people from different backgrounds to interact with one another to achieve quality care as required by their professors.


Metcalfe, S. (2016). Second Life Patient Scenarios: Enhancing the Diversity of the Nursing Profession. Creative nursing22(3), 166-170.

Melillo, K. D., Jacqueline Dowling, P. H. D., Lisa Abdallah, P. H. D., & Mary Findeisen PhD, R. N. (2013). Bring diversity to nursing: Recruitment, retention, and graduation of nursing students. Journal of Cultural Diversity20(2), 100.

Bleich, M. R., MacWilliams, B. R., & Schmidt, B. J. (2015).Advancing diversity through inclusive excellence in nursing education. Journal of Professional Nursing31(2), 89-94.

Mooring, Q. E. (2016). Recruitment, advising, and retention programs—Challenges and solutions to the international problem of poor nursing student retention: A narrative literature review. Nurse education today40, 204-208.

Kellett, P., &Fitton, C. (2017). Supporting transvisibility and gender diversity in nursing practice and education: embracing cultural safety. Nursing Inquiry24(1), e12146.

Armmer, F. (2017).An inductive discussion of the interrelationships between nursing shortage, horizontal violence, generational diversity, and healthy work environments. Administrative Sciences7(4), 34.

Fuller, B. L., & Mott-Smith, J. A. (2017). Issues influencing success: Comparing the perspectives of nurse educators and diverse nursing students. Journal of nursing education56(7), 389-396.

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