An astounding lack of diversity in nursing - page 12 I pasted my comment from another thread (above) into its own thread because I'm interested in why y'all think... Read More

  1. by   curateipsum
    This is a great thread! I would agree that the nursing student population of today is different than that of 10 or 20 years ago.

    However, I think that the nursing population should be representative of the local population or thereabouts. If we have a local population of lets say 50% caucasian, 30% asian american, 10% african american, 10% american indian - would it make sense to have a 60% asian student body? Would this be representative? Or are we looking at catching up on diversity for lost time? Similarly, if we had a large spanish speaking patient population, would it be an injustice to english only nurses to be turned down for work based on foreign language or more of an injustice to the spanish only patients who does not have a bilingual caregiver?Just thoughts I think are interesting to ponder...

    I have friends that say we need to have diverse nurses to meet the needs of our diverse patients. Good point. I also have friends that say the attention paid to diversity quotas are an injustice to white nursing students who are being turned away for their more ethnically diverse counterparts. Interesting point.

    Personally, I think that we should stop asking nurses/nursing students about which racial or ethnic box they check and be more interested in their experiences with diversity and how that helps them be a good nurse.

    Just thoughts. Would love to hear yours. Thanks for reading
    Last edit by curateipsum on Jul 18, '08
  2. by   kjetski
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA

    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.

    This is a touchy subject, I know, so I only ask that you keep your comments respectful and constructive:

    Older thread I came across but wanted to comment on this:

    First, some demographics: in the U.S. as of 2000, RNs are comprised of:

    White Female: 82%
    non-Hispanic African American Female: 4.9%
    Asian Female: 3.5%
    Hispanic Female: 2%
    Native American Female: 0.7%
    Mixed/Other race Female: 1.2%
    White Male: 4.7%
    All other Male: 1.0%

    3 points:

    1. The key statistic here is that only ONE PERCENT of nurses are non-white males. If I mistake a minority male as being somebody OTHER than a nurse, sure, there might be some built-in cultural bias there, but it's just as likely that it's because of the rarity of such nurses in the first place.

    Now, you might argue that the rarity is the real problem and I would agree. A profession that under-represents minorities by a factor of 3 and males by a factor of 9 needs to ask itself one potent question: why?

    2. I think the OP has had a difficult time over the years finding fellow minority male NPs because those nurses would be a fraction of the ONE PERCENT total number of non-white male nurses. A small pool to swim in, to be sure.

    3. As demographics change, nursing is simply going to be forced to address this issue of an astounding lack of diversity in its ranks. As our nation drops below 50% "white" in the next decade or two, it will simply become unfeasible to continue to recruit 86.6% of RNs (male and female combined) from the shrinking pool of whites in this nation. Think real hard about that last statistic: something is amiss in how we recruit nurses. Something's broken and needs to be fixed.

    (disclaimer: it's not my intent to be biased against LVN/LPNs, however, I got my stats from government links that only tabulated RNs.)


    Good points and valid sources. I echo your sentiments. As I am finding out however admission to nursing school is as objective as possible. Of course there may be a culturual bias to the TEAS.

    What is the best way to encourage minorities? Cash!
  3. by   curateipsum
    I love this thread - really interesting thoughts!

    I would just like to go on record stating that PERSONALLY, I do not believe nursing has ever discriminated against anyone. I've never known nursing to be a field to say, "I'm sorry, you could join our private club of glamourous nursing, but you are a guy, latino, asian, gay, or this and that, or you are a mix of this and that...

    I think that the nursing work force is mostly white females because those are the people who choose to do it. Where's the beef with asian manicurists? It's not that there is discrimination I tell ya, it's that more of them CHOOSE to do it.

    In addition, I think that the heavy hitter is here is what the societal perspective of nursing is. How many times when you were a little boy, were you ever asked if you wanted to be a nurse? How many times have you seen a male school nurse?

    Perhaps it is the iconic Florence Nightengale persona. Maybe we are hard wired to associate nurses with white nursing dresses and caps. Meaning, how could you want to be a nurse, if you didn't wear the uniform? Therefore as a boy, you can't be a nurse. [nurse= white dress+cap=female only] Look at the movie "Meet the Parents" when gaylord focker was ridiculed for being a male nurse - it was fiction, but ask yourself, how far off the mark is that? I know people that think that way.

    They thought he was a pansy and some male doctors lackey boy. Sorry, but how many nurses do you know that are pansies? I don't know any.

    Moreover, I wonder if any of you have ever thought of the word to describe our field 'NURSE'. I think we need to change our name, our outlook and our future. And I'm not too fond of the word 'caregiver' either. I'd kind of like a title with a backbone - like Health Engineer or something.

    But those are just my two cents.

    PS: I think we oughta scoop us the military folks when they come home, who are predominantly male, and train them to be nurses.