One vital element of developing strong teams within the healthcare system is enhancing diversity and inclusion among nurses and other staff. Nurse administrators work with human resources (HR) managers to recruit and hire a dynamic group of individuals to address staffing goals and challenges. Given this responsibility, nurse administrators have an unparalleled opportunity to ensure minority groups find representation in the process of receiving care.
How Diverse Is Healthcare?
Despite progress, there remains a lack of diversity in healthcare, posing problems for healthcare systems and patients alike. According to Minority Nurse, less than 10% of nurses are male, and minority groups account for approximately 20% of the nurse workforce. As the nation’s population becomes more diversified — in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, age stratification and more — healthcare staffing has struggled to reflect these changes at all levels, from the bedside to executive positions.
How Does Inclusive Hiring and Staffing Affect the Care Cycle?
Nurse Administrators who value inclusivity and diversity create a desirable workplace culture and dynamic that can attract a broader range of employees. An April 2021 CNBC Workforce Study found that nearly 80% of workers want to work for a company that values diversity, equity and inclusion.
In turn, employees who feel valued and respected and are awarded accordingly for their contributions tend to report higher satisfaction, reduced turnover and increased retention. Happy employees will likely encourage family, friends and acquaintances to apply for open positions, which provides another opportunity for administrators to expand staffing diversity.
Plus, a significant body of emerging research, including this review of studies published in the Journal of the National Medical Association, indicates that patients receive better care from a diverse medical team. Essentially, everyone benefits, says the journal, because there are “positive associations between diversity, quality and financial performance,” with improvements in “innovation, team communications and risk assessment.”
How Can Nurse Administrators Improve Healthcare Inclusivity?
Because nurses encompass the largest portion of healthcare workers and are key contributors across all care settings, HR managers work closely with nurse administrators to maximize the following areas of hiring and employment:
- identify multiple recruitment streams
- provide thorough orientation and training
- offer consistent and constructive performance reviews
- provide professional development, transfer and promotion opportunities
- offer competitive benefits and compensation
- prioritize safety
- promote work-life balance
In addition, they may use human capital management systems to “track employee skills, certifications and licensures, automate the recruiting process and integrate payroll with HR and workforce management tools,” says the Society for Human Resource Management. These systems provide objective data to accurately assess employee diversity, reduce unintended bias in the recruiting process and identify initiatives that can improve inclusivity.
Creating Inclusivity in Healthcare
Although human resources managers are typically apply inclusivity practices, hospital nurse administrators have a significant role in driving these matters. Nurse administrators hold the key to organizational and system leadership. They can influence professionalism, collaboration and ethics in the staff they oversee. They often have human resources responsibilities and directly advise HR managers to ensure adequate staffing ratios for nursing units.
To prepare administrators for this, students in Radford University’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Administration online program learn how modern human resource leadership strategies, such as valuing staff diversity and inclusivity, can impact patient care and organizational performance.
Ultimately, nurse administrators have the potential to foster inclusivity at hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Their policies have far-reaching impacts, from improving employee satisfaction and retention to strengthening the quality of patient care and outcomes. Since nurse administrators work collaboratively with HR with regards to hiring, they must also develop an understanding of the benefits of workplace diversity.
Learn more about Radford University’s online MSN in Nursing Administration program.