As a provider of career training for healthcare workers across the country, the team at Herzing University understands that effective healthcare is more than just the lessons learned from a textbook or one faculty member. It’s about training healthcare workers who can navigate the unique needs of whichever community they are a part of. This means welcoming diversity of thought and diversity of experience. If you want to improve access to quality healthcare for all communities, you need to change the face of those who work in healthcare to represent the communities they serve.
It is important to reflect on how diversity impacts healthcare today and how we, as educators and healthcare professionals, can make a difference for a better tomorrow.
Healthcare’s Continuing Imbalance
Even in the 2020s, minorities across America lack the same access to treatment or the healthcare system in general as white Americans, something only amplified during the emergence of COVID-19. According to Ipsos, about 30 million people in the U.S. remain uninsured, with half of those 30 million being Black, Hispanic, or Asian.
One way to improve access is through a commitment to reflecting and representing underserved communities. But this itself is difficult. While the national nursing population is growing in diversity, minority nurses remain underrepresented overall. Findings show that nurses from minority backgrounds represent 20.4% of the RN workforce but make up more than a third (39.3%) of the U.S. population. A lack of diversity means a lack of equitable and high-quality healthcare.
By valuing and celebrating diversity, healthcare organizations can enhance their capacity to deliver patient-centered care that is responsive to the unique needs of their diverse patient population.
The Impact of Healthcare Workers Who Look Like You
Reflecting on underserved communities in healthcare significantly impacts both patients and healthcare providers. Here are some ways changing the face of healthcare can be a benefit in your town:
- Better Patient Outcomes: Members of underserved communities often face unique health challenges that can be better understood and addressed by those who share their backgrounds and experiences, effectively resulting in more personalized care.
- Culturally Competent Care: Healthcare providers who understand current cultural beliefs, practices, and values have a greater sensitivity toward their patients. This can lead to greater patient satisfaction.
- Increased Trust: When healthcare providers reflect on these communities, patients may feel more comfortable seeking care and trust can be built between patients and providers.
- More Access to Care: Members of underserved communities may face barriers to accessing healthcare, such as language barriers or lack of transportation. Community healthcare providers may be better positioned to understand and address these barriers with common-sense solutions.
- Reduced Health Disparities: Health disparities are often more pronounced in underserved communities. By working in your communities, nurses and other professionals can more quickly focus on these unique challenges and provide targeted interventions.
Herzing University remains committed to partnering with and supporting organizations that represent its shared core values of professionalism, respect, integrity, caring and engagement. It’s part of our mission to ensure people of all ages, genders, ethnic, racial and societal backgrounds are offered the opportunities to pursue meaningful degrees and impactful careers.
We encourage you to celebrate diversity every month of the year and advocate for people of all backgrounds to consider careers in nursing and healthcare. It’s the most important thing we can do to help ensure a healthy community and a healthy next generation.