Globalization has shrunk the world, and people from different backgrounds and ethnicities are coexisting in shared spaces. In such a situation, it is vital to have a diverse workforce in every sector. It improves performance and increases patient satisfaction. According to research, gender-diverse companies perform 15% better than others. Whereas ethnically diverse companies perform 35% better in comparison with those with a less diverse workforce.
But does that apply to healthcare facilities as well? Yes, it does, since there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ patient. In the 21st century, people from different races, creeds, genders, and ages seek help from healthcare institutions. Following this, healthcare providers must meaningfully interact with them to understand their concerns.
Undoubtedly, a diverse workforce is more innovative, as people from different backgrounds work together in a similar setting. Empathy, communication, and tolerance are some common characteristics in a diverse workforce. According to the American Nurses Association, diversity in healthcare is necessary. It can help the sector acknowledge and appreciate the differences in priorities and beliefs of patients. Some patients feel it comfortable to seek help and guidance through a nurse with similar cultural or ethnic background. Therefore, it is vital to have nurses who make such patients comfortable and encourage them to share their worries and health concerns.
It is worth mentioning that the nursing workforce’s diversity has not got much attention in the current healthcare settings. According to research, only 27% of registered nurses come from varying ethnicities. Other than the ethnic diversity in nursing, hiring professionally diverse nurses has gained significant value.
What is professional diversity?
Nursing staff belonging to various specializations is said to be professionally diverse. Professional diversity in nursing is crucial as it improves patient outcomes. It also helps medical professionals provide better care. For example, a nurse with an online MSN FNP degree can step in for family physicians. At the same time, a nurse-midwife offers specific care for newborns and their mothers.
Perhaps, as demand for primary care rises, hospitals prefer to hire a more diverse workforce to fulfill healthcare needs. Below, we have listed the most in-demand specializations for nurses.
- Dialysis Nurses
Also called nephrology nurses, dialysis nurses help people suffering from kidney problems by removing excess fluid from their kidneys. This process is called hemodialysis. It is the fastest-growing specialization in nursing. These nurses fulfill various responsibilities, ranging from setting up the dialysis machines and preparing supplies for the procedure.
They often assess and monitor patients’ vitals before they undergo treatment and educate patients about their treatment and dietary restrictions. They are highly trained professionals with certification in and a minimum of 2000 hours of experience.
- Legal Nurse Consultant
They provide consultation services to attorneys and legal experts on medico-legal issues. Most of them have diverse clinical expertise, which helps them analyze complex data. They may become expert witnesses at the time of medical malpractice suits and personal injury claims. They may testify at trials or depositions and prepare reports for lawyers.
In many cases, these experts work with insurance companies to audit bills and manage patients’ claims. Some of these nurses are responsible for educating staff about policy and legislation to improve compliance. Since they do not work in a traditional healthcare institution, legal nurses do not follow conventional work hours.
However, to be a legal nurse consultant, they must be certified by the LNCC to practice within the United States of America. Also, they must have a law degree and an associate degree in nursing. However, some legal nurses may prefer to get on-the-job training instead of a law degree.
- Pain Management Nurses
Pain management nurses deal with patients who have suffered from immense trauma. They usually assess the patient’s in severe pain and provide them the necessary treatment. Most of these patients either suffer from acute or chronic pain. Since medicating patients in chronic pain is a complex procedure, nurses must maintain a delicate balance in dosage. Overmedication can make a patient vulnerable to addiction or drug overdose.
Besides, pain management nurses may also introduce alternative pain management techniques such as acupuncture and massages. They also work as educators as they inform patients and their families about the recommended treatments. However, most pain management nurses work in hospitals and clinics, while some work in rehabilitation centers.
A competent pain management nurse must have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and successfully pass licensing exams. They must have additional certification from the American Society for Pain Management.
- Geriatric Nurses
Geriatric nurses can understand the complex mental and physical issues of the elderly. They help their patients stay active and independent in old age. Geriatric nurses are responsible for balancing patients’ needs with the demands of their family members. Sometimes, it can get tricky since there may be conflicts between the two. Most health conditions of older people require changes in their lifestyle.
Notably, as the population ages, one may expect an increase in geriatric nurses’ demand in the future. Despite the alarming situation, the current healthcare sector is unprepared for this change. A geriatric nurse must have an undergraduate degree in nursing with certification in Gerontological Nursing.
- Public Health Nurses
Unlike other nurses, public health nurses care for entire populations. They educate people about health issues and improve access to care. They are also responsible for educating patients to protect their health and improve access to care.
Since advocacy is fundamental to public health, public health nurses advocate improving the quality of care. They design campaigns to educate the public about specific diseases and their prevention measures. Their overarching goal is to motivate people to play an active role in healthcare. Most public health nurses work with non-profit or government agencies to improve healthcare in the community.
To work as a public health nurse, students must have a bachelor’s in nursing. Also, they must pass the NCLEX-RN licensing exam.
In the 21st century, diversity in healthcare is vital for improved healthcare services. The workforce should be diverse so that it can provide innovative solutions to existing problems. However, professional diversity is as necessary as representation in healthcare. With a diverse workforce, institutions can provide better care and improve patient engagement.