An astounding lack of diversity in nursing - page 9

I pasted my comment from another thread (above) into its own thread because I'm interested in why y'all think there is such a lack of diversity in nursing and what you think the solutions should be.... Read More

  1. by   kidznurse
    Quote from sayitgirl
    If you never thought about it, you have lived a very sheltered life and you are not part of the minority. I am an African American RN and I recently started working at a LTC facility that previously in its twenty year history had never employed an African American nurse. The facility has two African
    American clients on the dementia unit. There was also one African American CNA that started off on the subacute unit but changed floors to dementia because of the harassment that she received from her coworkers. I feel like I am a pioneer at this facility, redirecting them in the behavior that they should portray toward a person because of their character and not react to the outside appearance of their skin. The DON is very supportive, in fact she is slowly increasing the number of African-American nurses employed at the facility.Now there are three of us. And all of us have at least five years experience in the field, in contrast to the average nurse at the facility that has worked at the same facility for less that three years and started off as a CNA at the same facility. They were not open to change. But I believe in time it will happen. Sometimes you have to be a change agent. Diversity is a reality in America, prejudice must become a subject of the past.
    I am a non American nurse who has worked in other countries (including in a multi cultural New York) and now live and work in my country of origin.I have found that my neutral status has given me at worst disinterest and at best exemption from racism. I am interested in the insights of Afro American nurses who have worked in other countries . What challenges are there when working in other countries that do not have a history of oppression against their ethnicity? Are the considered only as American rather than a sub set of American ,and afforded more status as citizens of a "superpower"?
  2. by   pickledpepperRN
    EmerNurse:
    Congratulations on becoming a grandmother. I envey you. My kids are pushing 40 and are not yet parents.

    I know the racism among African Americans. I've probably heard more of it than blatent white racists remarks because people may think I condone it. Yup. A slight difference in skin tone means a lot to many. There are historical reasons for it. I think my parents spared me from learning it in my soul so that was one I didn't have to overcome.

    Kidznurse:
    I've never worked in another state. My travels have been limited to Canada and Mexico. I speak some Spanish and didn't feel any different attitude than other travelers.
    Camping we met people from many countries. We enjoyed each other. When my kids were young they played with other kids whose language they didn't understand.
    Running, chasing, and showing off are the same in any language.
  3. by   Tiwi
    I think it depends on the area you live in. Our town is so diverse - English/European Australians, Indigenous Australians, Thai, Indonesian, Greek, Chinese, Maori etc. The history of this town has been multicultural from the start, with the original aboriginal ppl, the English, Malaccans, Chinese, and Greek influences. And at our hospital the "mix" is constantly changing too; with more Filipina and Zimbabwe nurses, at the moment. We also have Aboriginal Health Workers, who in the hospitals are on a par with ENs but in remote communities have a far ranging role, similar to that of nurses - they are licenced through the Professional Licencing Boards as are nurses physios doctors etc.
  4. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from EmerNurse
    My first nursing job was in a similar place. I'd previously not ever realized that there was racism within, as well. I too was often the minority, with black nurses comprising American, Jamaican, Haitian and other "types" of "black" per se.

    There was a definate difference in the way certain "types" were treated. Even the skin tone "lighter or darker" was cause for comment among them. I was truly shocked.

    Naive I guess but it seems racism spans more than just the traditional american definition of "black/white".

    We've got a long long way to go.
    You're speaking of intraracism (racism within a race of people). And, yes, it is all too common among black people in America. Lighter-skinned blacks and biracial people are placed at the top of the pecking order and treated well, whereas darker-skinned blacks receive the crappy end of the stick. This intraracism started during the antebellum days, when lighter-skinned house slaves were placed at the top of the pecking order.
  5. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from BULLYDAWGRN
    I Personally Think This Lack Of Diversity Stuff In Proffesional Fields Is A Bunch Of Bunk... You Are What You Are, You Can Be What You Want To Be.. If You Want To Study And Spend The Time And Effort And Have Appropriate Qaulifications (ie. Grades,exp,act/sat Scores) You Can Get Into A Nursing Program, Hey I Did'nt Get Into The 1st Or 2nd Rn Program I Wanted,you Know What I Sucked It Up Re-took Some Classes Improved Some Grades And Got Into A Program, Graduated With A High Gpa And Class Vp...and Then Did'nt Get Hired At 1st Or 2nd Units That I Wanted.. Worked A Few Months Got Some Experience And Now I'm In Those Units.. If You Got What It Take On Paper And Inside You You'll Get In.
    Juat a bit of thread redirection, if I may. The way nursing is today is what it is. At issue is going forward. This is not an issue of black vs. white, or any other combination.

    At ISSUE is that this nation is becoming more diverse. It's a matter of demographics. For whatever reason, be it exclusion or simple lack of interest, minorities are not coming into nursing in representative numbers. In the future, this will be a drag on recruiting that will hurt us all. I'm not suggesting 'quotas'. I'm suggesting that, in our mutual interest, nursing needs to examine why minorities are not seeking out nursing, and attempt to address it.

    I said this before, at issue is not the composition of our wait lists today. Who, if anybody, is going to be interested in nursing 10 yrs from now, or 20? White females are 82% of nurses. THEY might be here then, as well. But, when they represent 20% of the general population, instead of the 35% they represent today, will that be enough to ensure our self-sufficiency?

    More to the point, at issue is not individual nurses but demographics. If we can identify a problem at the demographic level, is it in our best interests to ignore it or downplay it? It's the 'glass ceiling' effect. That might not deter individuals but it says plenty about culture. Put aside race for a moment and look at it from the perspective of females. IF more females attain CEO positions, what does that say about THAT glass ceiling? On the other hand, if fewer females get that far, what does THAT say? At issue isn't whether 1 or 2 or 10 females are CEOs; at issue is the culture that keeps those numbers small, demographically.

    I suspect few here would argue whether females deserve equal opportunity to be CEOs or that evidence of a glass ceiling would be a problem that should be addressed. It's the same argument; at issue is not individual achievement but demographical representation.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  6. by   EmerNurse
    Timothy I always love your posts, but I don't think anyone out there is TRYING to keep any specific minority out of nursing. Heck, I'd be thrilled if half our new grads managed to STAY in the profession at the bedside beyond the 1st year, regardless of their race.

    Change the preception of nursing worldwide, which is needed no matter what, and you will attract more people of all demographics. THEN change our working conditions to something that looks remotely humane, and we'll KEEP those nurses.

    As opportunities expand for students graduating these days, regardless of race, those with these new opportunities go for the careers that 1)interest them, and 2) won't kill them with backbreaking work.

    I think if nurses were portrayed on media as more than either killer nurses, or idiots, or handmaidens, more people would see nursing as a viable, respectable, proud profession as it should be (and IS). And while you're portraying nurses in the competent, professional, knowledgable and exciting roles we really encompass, portray them from all walks of life and races.

    Star Trek began with Lt. Ahura, communications OFFICER, on the bridge, often on the away team with her white male counterparts (of all alien races lol). She was respected and important to the role of the 5-year mission. But she wasn't treated as "that different one, that black lady"... she was the LT, officer. That was it.

    THAT is what the world needs to see in nursing. Portray ALL races participating in our profession in the true capacity in which we work. Not this subservient BS that wouldn't appeal to my kids (and doesn't). Hell in this day and age, you do'nt have to ask "how come xyz isn't going into nursing". Everyone is now asking WHY would anyone WANT to.

    It's more than a demographic issue - it's that we've yet to show the world what nursing IS... and what it is not.

    Sorry - babbling - sleep deprived - back to work soon.

    Hugs to all!
  7. by   pickledpepperRN
    EmerNurse:

    I agree with most or your post.
    And am a Star Trek fan. Uhurs was a great character even with a spark plug in her ear.

    But I think nursing is respected as a profession.
    Here in California the ADN, BSN, accellerated, and entry level masters programs are all impacted.
    Waiting lists are often many years long.
    Right now we have enough because of those returning because of the ratios and those coming here to work.

    But as we retire we need more slots in nursing schoold or we will have a crisis of a shortage.
  8. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from spacenurse
    But as we retire we need more slots in nursing school or we will have a crisis of a shortage.
    Absolutely, the first goal would be to greatly expand nursing school slots.

    But once that happens, who will be interested in nursing?

    There are 150,000 students nationwide 'impacted' on the waiting lists. Even if we found a place for all of them, in too short a time, we would STILL be too short of nurses.

    In addition to resolving the wait lists, we need to address recruitment. I argue that we need to address representation of minorities in nursing SPECIFICALLY because going forward, the gen pop demographics are going to shift that way. That is NOT to say that I advocate increasing recruitment from those areas alone. It is correct to say that we need to increase recruitment all across the board.

    But - when men and minorities aren't interested or are excluded in great numbers, if we ignore that, then we ignore the greatest area in which we can expand recruitment. All I'm saying is that it is in all our self-interests to address that, if we can. It IS a matter of increasing all recruiting, but if there are specific issues that keep minorities out of nursing, then we do ourselves a service in trying to discover and address those specific issues, as well.

    This is not about mutually exclusive agendas. We will need more recruitment going forward generally. More white women would be GREAT. The demographics of the future suggest that will not be enough. So, in addition to recruiting EVERYBODY equally, it would also benefit nursing to explore WHY we don't have representative numbers of SOME and try to address that. That means minorities and men. I haven't discussed men in THIS thread because I was focusing on why minorities aren't sufficiently being recruited. But, it is correct to say the overall issue is recruiting more of EVERYBODY. We just need to do that with an eye to general pop demographics and who exactly that 'everybody' will be in 10-20 yrs.

    That is my point.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  9. by   pickledpepperRN
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    Absolutely, the first goal would be to greatly expand nursing school slots.

    But once that happens, who will be interested in nursing?

    There are 150,000 students nationwide 'impacted' on the waiting lists. Even if we found a place for all of them, in too short a time, we would STILL be too short of nurses.

    In addition to resolving the wait lists, we need to address recruitment. I argue that we need to address representation of minorities in nursing SPECIFICALLY because going forward, the gen pop demographics are going to shift that way. That is NOT to say that I advocate increasing recruitment from those areas alone. It is correct to say that we need to increase recruitment all across the board.

    But - when men and minorities aren't interested or are excluded in great numbers, if we ignore that, then we ignore the greatest area in which we can expand recruitment. All I'm saying is that it is in all our self-interests to address that, if we can. It IS a matter of increasing all recruiting, but if there are specific issues that keep minorities out of nursing, then we do ourselves a service in trying to discover and address those specific issues, as well.

    This is not about mutually exclusive agendas. We will need more recruitment going forward generally. More white women would be GREAT. The demographics of the future suggest that will not be enough. So, in addition to recruiting EVERYBODY equally, it would also benefit nursing to explore WHY we don't have representative numbers of SOME and try to address that. That means minorities and men. I haven't discussed men in THIS thread because I was focusing on why minorities aren't sufficiently being recruited. But, it is correct to say the overall issue is recruiting more of EVERYBODY. We just need to do that with an eye to general pop demographics and who exactly that 'everybody' will be in 10-20 yrs.

    That is my point.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Of course you are right.
    Neither of us is a white woman. You will probably continue to save lives for many years. I plan to retire in a little more than 3 years (if I live that long)

    BUT how about pressuring our colleges and universities to create more slots for nursing students and graduate programs & scholarships for nursing educators first? Then the future nurses can realistically expect to become nurses so long as their grades are OK.
  10. by   subee
    Quote from spacenurse
    Of course you are right.
    Neither of us is a white woman. You will probably continue to save lives for many years. I plan to retire in a little more than 3 years (if I live that long)

    BUT how about pressuring our colleges and universities to create more slots for nursing students and graduate programs & scholarships for nursing educators first? Then the future nurses can realistically expect to become nurses so long as their grades are OK.
    I'll bet there are plenty of men and other minorities in those waiting lists for nursing programs. They won't attract educators until they change the way the educators are paid. A nurse instructor may teach a three credit course but it involved many more hours of on-site presence because of the clinical component but only gets paid for the three credits as if it were a lecture course. I have looked into teaching jobs as a way to keep working after retirement from clinical work but it hardly pays for the gas. Unless you have a PhD and have been in the university system as a full-time career, the pay is depressingly low.
  11. by   FutureNP-PA
    Quote from EmerNurse
    Honestly, I get tired of hearing the diversity thing, too. I'm SORRY I'm caucasion, ok? I shouldn't feel like I have to apologize.
    I have read every single one of these posts and my heart is aching after reading some of the responses. It is frustrating to read the ignorance of many here. I am a firm believer that more minorities need to be recruited and more importantly all nurses should be oriented on the importance of cultural competent care. I don’t expect for the minority nurse to have a “free ride” so to speak, but more efforts need to be made to introduce this fabulous field to this population. Listen, it all boils down to the PATIENTS! I am sure that every single one of you here, no matter what your skin color, religious affiliations or ethnicity, is an AVID PATIENT ADVOCATE like myself. Someone mentioned that the population of Hispanics in the US is 14.5% yet there are only 2% Hispanics in the field. I don’t see this changing very soon but what I can visualize is a field that is so focused on humanity and healing to be color blind. After reading these postings we are far from being color blind. It is all about whites vs. non whites. We forgot the most important factor in this fascinating debate…the patients.

    I am a Latina, 1st generation to go to school. I have three children, a wonderful and supportive husband and have worked the whole time. I didn’t get any of the so called scholarships that are out there for minorities. I did get several scholarships but I am proud to say that they were based on my academic achievements. Nursing school has been GREAT & EXTREMELY stressful. My instructors have been outstanding and I am the only Latina in my graduating class; there is one Indian, 2 African Americans, a male from Nigeria, another student from Trinidad & one Caucasian male. Out of 50 students only 7 of us are minorities. No one caters to us, we don’t get special attention & we have to work just as hard as the 43 Caucasian females in the class (who are I must say nurses that I would in a heart beat allow to care for my grandmother). That’s point one.

    Point 2: Back to being a patient advocate. I’m in this field because I am a true people person and love to provide comfort to those in need no matter what they look like. I never believed that I could do this, I just didn’t have the confidence; it came with age. =) I’m so glad I made the decision to do this. In my rotation I have seen first hand ignorance; racial bias & stereotypes come in between good patient care. It hurts me to think that my grandmother who has been a contributing and tax paying citizen for over 40 yrs can be subjected to this type of horror. And then I hear that many of you are tired of hearing about “diversity” and “culture”. It is vital in this profession. This world is shrinking at a fast pace. Here is one example of what I’ve seen:
    During report a nurse described a pt as having an “attitude problem” and told the nurse & I “I’m just warning you”. I also overheard her say, "I don't get why you're in this country & do not speak English!"
    This patient was a Latino male who spoke English & was able to communicate, however his command of the medical terminology wasn’t proficient. He was scared; he had MRSA on his face & didn’t understand the implications of this illness. I went into his room, explained to him in detail what was going on, how the medications that were hung are going to help him & when he can be expected to recover, all in Spanish. Needless to say, he was extremely grateful and did not have ANY problems with his attitude. Yes we need more minority nurses but not to replace the excellent nursing force that we currently have but to work side by side and provide another view of nursing. In addition, we need all nurses to be culturally competent. This nurse could have done the same thing I did! How you may ask? Well all federally funded hospitals provide interpretation services free of charge to all patients who have a limited English proficiency. She could have easily picked up the phone & utilized the language line. But her bias, judgmental attitude became an obstacle to this patient receiving equal care. It is a well known fact that there are health disparities among minorities compared to the Caucasian population. We can bridge this gap by becoming patient advocates to all of our patients. It is our professional duty to ASSESS not ASSUME.
    Sorry, but I desperately needed to get this off my chest.

    Sincerely,
    A dedicated patient advocate & future RN who happens to be a proud Hispanic American. My point? Patient advocate is first, RN is second & Hispanic American is last.
    :angryfire
    Last edit by FutureNP-PA on Mar 10, '07
  12. by   sayitgirl
    I think what would really be a boost to nursing would be a television show that actually centered around nurses. Like ER is focused on physicians, have a TV show focused on Nurses. That would be a terrific show!
  13. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from sayitgirl
    I think what would really be a boost to nursing would be a television show that actually centered around nurses. Like ER is focused on physicians, have a TV show focused on Nurses. That would be a terrific show!
    Good idea, won't work. TV has invested far too long in the concept that nurses are background material. So much so, that if nurses were ever portrayed accurately, it wouldn't feel 'real' to the average viewer.

    How could network TV pass the 'believability' test to show nurses actually doing nursing things when they have passed on the perception for so long that the doctors do those things?

    Give me a show where doctors actually spend less than 10 minutes at the bedside while nurses spend 24 hrs and do the bulk of the work, and I'll give you show not nearly as interesting as the 20 shows that depict various interns and residents 'paying their dues'.

    I agree with you. But in REALITY, nurses don't nurse on TV; doctors do.

    I'm a real nurse, I don't play one on TV. That's a good thing, because, in the REAL world, I'm not just some 'set prop'.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Mar 11, '07

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