Nursing professionals comprise the essential medical workforce since they are a direct point of contact with patients. Nurses’ ability to deliver healthcare is dependent on their capability to communicate with their patients and breach the barriers of conflict. Therefore, there is a critical need to diversify the workforce among nursing professionals to enable greater potential for cultural understanding, better performance, and more opportunities for nurses from minority backgrounds. The policy of diversity promotion among nursing specialists will require applying empowerment to help underrepresented groups enter the workforce.
Define the Context
In order to address the issue and implement an effective policy, the context requires proper definition. It is stated that this step is vital “to provide the background information … to understand the determinants of health problems (socio-economic, cultural)” (Collins, 2005, p. 194). When it comes to nursing professionals, the field requires overcoming many barriers to entry to pursue a nursing degree. These include “significant cost, cultural, social, and awareness barriers that prevent people of color, those with low incomes, first-generation college students … from pursuing careers in the field” (National Academies, 2022, para. 27). In other words, professional nursing needs a substantial investment of time, effort, and money, which can make it difficult for people from minority or low socioeconomic backgrounds to become one.
State the Problem
The problem is the lack of sufficient diversity in the nursing workforce. Although positive changes have been made over the last decade in this direction, many barriers still persist. The latter requires addressing at a policy level in order to ensure that all qualified people can become nurses. The lack of diversity and representation creates a mismatch between health professionals and patients, where the latter is culturally diverse as well. The factors include African Americans, Hispanics, men, and individuals from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
Search for Evidence
The search for evidence reveals that some steps towards diversification were taken, but there is still room for major improvements. A diverse nursing workforce “will help to raise awareness of underlying causes and potentially lead to more effective communication skills, therapeutic relationships and therefore patient satisfaction and safety” (Crawford et al., 2017). Another piece of evidence shows that “the diversity and education of new nurses have increased, but are short of meeting the IOM recommendations,” and bringing more male nurses additional contributes to this metric (Kovner et al., 2018, p. 160). It is critical to start the diversity improvement efforts in nursing education in order to remove cultural barriers (Whitfield-Harris et al., 2017). In other words, the evidence clearly shows that enabling a greater range of diversity among nursing professionals is beneficial for the patient, compounding for all underrepresented groups, and it should begin in schools.
Different Policy Options
The problem is multifaceted and complex, which implies that there are a number of plausible policy options. One such alternative is to focus on power elements since an “effective political strategy requires an analysis of the power of proponents and opponents of a particular solution” (Mason et al., 2020, p. 5). One option is to use information power when it comes to the special form of data available to certain parties. However, a better option is empowerment since “nurses need to share power and recognize that they can build the power of colleagues or others by sharing authority and decision making” (Mason et al., 2020, p. 6). Diversity promotion and advocacy require empowering the underrepresented groups by providing them with more opportunity and support.
Project the Outcomes
The outcome of increased diversity in the nursing workforce is multileveled. The first layer of such a policy is an improvement in communication between nurses and their patients. The second layer is enhanced trust and patient safety due to the removal of cultural and racial/ethnic barriers. The third layer corresponds to improved competency of nurses due to a greater supply of willing students and better education. As a result, diversity will cause direct improvement in health outcomes, quality of care, and patient satisfaction, which will additionally reduce nursing errors and other major issues, such as nursing burnout or emotional exhaustion.
Apply Evaluative Criteria
Any policy proposal or change needs an appropriate evaluation in accordance with specific criteria. In the case of the framework proposed by Rodriguez-Garcia, the intervention contributes to the need of the patient population, where the actual results adhere to what was projected since diversity improvements have already been made (National Academies, 2022). Empowering nurses is efficient and effective because it is a combination of all other sources of power distribution methods. It is stated that “empowerment arises from any or all of these types of power, shared among the group” (Mason et al., 2020, p. 6). The impact of the policy change is significant and widespread due to radical health and outcome improvements as well as higher quality of care. Socioeconomic factors are additionally enhanced due to the emphasis on equity and equal opportunity provided for underrepresented groups.
Weigh the Outcomes
In the case of the information power, the outcomes are not as comprehensive since it only enables greater knowledge of essential data but still requires minority group nurses to overcome the barriers on their own. However, the empowerment option is multifaceted and systematic because it promotes practical support for such individuals. Therefore, the latter alternative is more appealing and effective due to its superior projected outcomes.
Make the Decision
The decision is clear, and it favors the empowerment policy strategy to uplift the underrepresented and disadvantaged groups to provide them with equal opportunities of becoming nursing professionals. More males, African Americans, Hispanics, and people with low socioeconomic backgrounds should be assisted in entering the nursing workforce. These actions will boost the quality of care, patient trust, and patient satisfaction. In addition, they will remove many cultural barriers and patient mistrust or miscommunication challenges present in the modern nursing environment.
In conclusion, the diversity policy is a critical element of the nursing workforce, which has seen major improvements in the past years but still requires policy-based changes based on empowerment strategies. The latter approach is selected due to its comprehensiveness in ensuring that all modalities of power are utilized to give the underrepresented groups an equal opportunity to enter the field on the basis of equity.
Collins, T. (2005). Health policy analysis: A simple tool for policy makers. Public Health, 119(3), 192-196. Web.
Crawford, T., Candlin, S., & Roger, P. (2017). New perspectives on understanding cultural diversity in nurse–patient communication. Collegian, 24(1), 63-69. Web.
Kovner, C. T., Djukic, M., Jun, J., Fletcher, J., Fatehi, F. K., & Brewer, C. S. (2018). Diversity and education of the nursing workforce 2006–2016. Nursing Outlook, 66(2), 160-167. Web.
Mason, D. J., Perez, A., McLemore, M. R., & Dickson, E. (2020). Policy & politics in nursing and health care (8th ed.). Elsevier.
National Academies. (2022). Unleashing the power of the nurse to achieve health equity. Web.
Whitfield-Harris, L., Lockhart, J. S., Zoucha, R., & Alexander, R. (2017). The lived experience of Black nurse faculty in predominantly white schools of nursing. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 28(6), 608–615. Web.