Diversity is a topic that has been making strides in the healthcare industry for a long while. Healthcare diversity is achieved when medical and administrative workers come from different backgrounds and experiences. Background may include cast, gender, creed, ethnicity, race, age, religion, language, political beliefs, and culture. Experience refers to education, competency level, and work skills. Although a highly beneficial phenomenon, many health institutes in the US are experiencing a lack of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
To further corroborate this fact, AAMC’s 2019 report revealed a lack of gender diversity in the physician workforce, with only 36% females. The racial and ethnic diversity also failed to provide appreciable statistics with only 5% black, 6% Hispanic, and 17% Asian. The same report has also shown a shortage of socioeconomic diversity in most US institutes. Such shocking statistics unveil a critical need to promote diversity in the US healthcare workforce.
Significance of Diversity in Healthcare
In today’s era, a diverse workforce boosts an organization’s reputation alongside nurturing innovation. When diverse minds come together, they produce unique solutions. They provide organizations with multiple perspectives on various populations to better cater to their needs. Alongside the healthcare sector, various other industries are benefiting from diversity and inclusion at the workplace. It allows them to meet the varying social, cultural, and ethical needs of the masses. A diverse workforce also understands and provides specific care to specific groups and individuals, further proving their importance.
Therefore, if you’re planning to enter the healthcare industry or are already a part of it, embracing diversity will propel your career. For nurses striving to remain abreast of changing healthcare dynamics, pursuing online RN to BSN programs will prove monumental. This online program will help you unearth people’s socially and culturally distinct needs and strategies to address them.
To further determine the significance of diversity in healthcare, let’s look at the points below:
Increases employee morale
When people from different backgrounds are valued, their morale and productivity enhance significantly. As a result, they contribute more to the organization and remain engaged and loyal to their work. What’s more, several studies prove that workers feel more satisfied and experience less burnout in inclusive/diverse environments.
A study by McKinsey revealed that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to surpass non-diverse companies. Moreover, ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform non-ethnic-diverse companies.
Improves quality care
With a diverse healthcare workforce, you can facilitate and cater to various patient populations. Additionally, the patient-practitioner relationship also strengthens when patients connect culturally, religiously, or linguistically with their providers. For instance, some patients can easily converse with healthcare providers who belong to their ethnicity or culture. And since the patient-practitioner relationship improves, it positively affects patient outcomes and satisfaction. So, to ensure greater patient satisfaction, you must ensure diversity in healthcare staff.
Benefit from a variety of perspectives
If there’s one compelling point about embracing diversity, it’s how it cultivates an environment that nurtures multiple perspectives. When people from various cultures, backgrounds, creeds, and ethnicities come together, they develop innovative solutions. Since they can effectively understand the requirements and challenges of multiple populations, they help organizations devise workable healthcare policies and procedures.
Ways to promote diversity in healthcare
Healthcare workers play a significant role in promoting diversity and inclusion in their workplace, especially leaders. Therefore, to promote diversity in the healthcare sector, we’ll discuss some effective strategies:
1. Encourage an inclusive environment
Inclusiveness refers to the equal participation of each healthcare worker to voice their opinion and perspective on an issue. It also means providing equal growth opportunities to your workers regardless of their background. If you encourage inclusiveness, you’ll ensure that all workers feel valued and appreciated, promoting diversity.
Moreover, you will witness their true potential in dealing with patients and achieving effective results. Previously, various groups were marginalized in the healthcare sector based on gender, race, and creed. However, this trend is gradually changing as healthcare facilities worldwide embrace inclusion. Such initiatives also improve the healthcare sector’s public reputation.
2. Pay attention to any bias and get rid of it instantly
Cases of racial prejudice and discrimination are not new to any workplace. However, you can limit or altogether eradicate such biases by implementing stringent policies. If you condone such injustice, it will lead to less diversity at your workplace. Anyone who faces workplace bias can never give their best, eventually resulting in a poor patient-care experience.
Every healthcare worker deserves to be treated fairly with fundamental human rights. It would help if you promoted equality, respect, and freedom of thought among your colleagues. Encourage all your healthcare workers to openly condemn any bias and immediately report matters to the higher authorities. If you allow such instances to occur at the workplace, you’ll struggle to uphold diversity and inclusion.
3. Hire leaders who understand the importance of diversity
Since promoting a diverse work environment will give rise to various challenges, it’s imperative to have a leader steer the entire process. It becomes almost indispensable for healthcare organizations willing to provide equal opportunities to their workforce and satisfactory patient experiences. Influential leaders bring the skills, expertise, and experience crucial to establishing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
And while you’re hiring a leader for this purpose, we’d suggest you pick someone from a diverse background. This act will ensure that every individual in your workforce is aware of the transformation being carried out, that is, diversity. Moreover, workers’ opinions and suggestions will face less resistance with a diverse leader at the top.
A diverse workforce can indeed bring many benefits to the healthcare sector. Alongside ensuring a positive patient experience, diversity paves the way for innovative ideas and solutions. And while it will take time for other industries to understand the significance of a diverse workforce, many healthcare organizations are actively promoting it. It boosts employee morale, increases retention, and provides differing opinions and perspectives. So, if you’re leading a healthcare organization, you can leverage the above methods to encourage diversity and inclusion.