Diversity Important in Health Care  Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

The Foundation called specific attention to the prospect of institutional and policy-level strategies to increase the participation of under-represented minorities in the health professions. In response, the Institute Committee on Institutional and Policy-Level Strategies for Increasing the Diversity of the U.S. Healthcare Workforce came out with a report, entitled "In the Nation's Compelling Interest: Ensuring Diversity in the Health Care Workforce." The Committee consisted mostly of academicians, two of whom represented the nursing profession.

In its report, the Committee recognized the importance of increasing racial diversity among health professionals in order to improve access to care, greater patient choice and satisfaction and better educational experiences for practitioners, among other benefits. It also recognized the lack of strategies in reducing institutional and policy-level barriers among health profession educational institutions or HPEIs. In response to the lack, the Committee recommended that health professions education make a clear stand and mission on the value of diversity; the federal Health Resources and Services Administration increase enrollments and funding of under-represented minorities; the creation of a critical mass of under-represented minorities in the health professions and the explicit recognition of the value and importance of diversity among health professionals; comprehensive strategies to improve institutional climate for diversity in the health professional education institutions; and institutional objectives to support the goal to increase healthcare workforce diversity.

Summers, J. And Nowicki, M. (2004). Diversity: How Does it Help? Financial Management: Healthcare Financial Management Association. Retrieved on June 17,

2009 from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3257/is_2_58/ai_n6079912/tag?=content;col1

Summers and Nowicki believe that diverse experiences and backgrounds broaden perspectives on life and the world but do not necessarily insure performance. People from diverse cultures will not necessarily input improved thinking just because they have varying life experiences and alternative life perspectives. Their job experiences, training and education are the measure of their contribution. They should be given cases to demonstrate their creative and innovative contributions. If they exhibit positive marketing benefits, their diverse experiences can be counted worthwhile. This provides ground to encourage diversity among the minority groups, other races and women. But the authors argue that gender, race and ethnicity alone do not guarantee greater creativity, innovation or helpful viewpoints. Instead, they believe that managers should carefully define the meaning of diversity and the goals they want to achieve from it. They believe that clear thinking and clear organizational goals should prevail over all other considerations. Advocates of diversity say it broadens ideas and perspectives, improves marketing and organizational outcomes and solves past injustices from discrimination. Healthcare professional associations should evaluate these justifications.

Walsh, S. (2004). Formulation of a Plan of Care for Culturally Diverse Patients.

International Journal of Nursing Terminologies and Classification: Nursecom, Inc. Retrieved on June 17, 2009 from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4065/is_200401/ai_n9387460/?tag=content;col1

This plan of care was inputted into the nursing diagnosis-based documentation computer system for easy reference. It is a positive and proactive response to the health needs of a diverse population. At the same time, it avoids negative stereotypes resulting from cultural barriers to understanding or acceptance.

The first nursing diagnosis in the care plan is impaired communication. Interventions consist of interpreter services, alternative communication methods, health information resources in native languages, and recognition of the importance of specific personal values. The second is ineffective health maintenance, which includes cultural practices not conducive to wellness. Interventions include alignment of religious or cultural practices with the patient's health needs, support and logic for a change of behavior and information on the patient's culture. The third diagnosis is knowledge deficit. This can result from a lack of familiarity with information resources, communication barriers, and cultural or religious practices incongruent with wellness. Interventions center on teaching strategies suited to the patients' learning needs and culture. The last diagnosis if compromised family coping, which relates to the lack of relevant ethnic and religious resources, non-traditional family units, lack of privacy, specific religious or cultural beliefs, severity of disease and disparity of roles. Interventions include integration of illness beliefs and family cultural patterns, and encouragement and sensitivity to family values. The plan offers unique and positive opportunities in caring for patients or working with those with diverse cultures.

Sullivan Commission (2004). U.S. Health Care Professionals Separate and Unequal. . Black Issues in Higher Education: Cox, Matthews & Associates. Retrieved on June 17,

2009 from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_mODOXK/is_17_21/ai_n6347988/?tag=content;col1

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/> This 16-member commission's mission is to provide excellent and high-quality health care for all. This mission is guided by, and expressed in, three overlying principles: an increase in the health professions, new and non-traditional directions to these professions, and commitments to this change in the highest levels of an organization. Colleges, universities, health systems and relevant organizations must review their practices in pursuit of the first principle. Under the second principle, health profession schools must keep tab of the major improvements in the K-12 education system. And under the third principle, institutional leaders must support change to make it happen.

The Commission listed 37 specific actions to fulfill this mission. Key among these were the shift of financing from student loans to scholarships in health professions education; reduced dependency on standardized testing in admitting enrollees in the schools of medicine, nursing and dentistry; enhancing two-year college courses in preparation for health professions; and substantial increase in federal funding for diversity programs within the National Health Services Corps, and Titles VII and VIII of the Public Service Act.

Mateo, M. And Smith, S.P. (2001). Workforce Diversity a Reality. Journal of Multicultural Nursing & Health: Riley Publications, Inc. Retrieved on June 17, 2009 from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3919/is_1_54/ai_59177141/?tag=content;col1

The authors note from Bureau of Census records that almost 30% of the current American population belongs to ethnic or racial minority groups -- 12% African-American, 11.9% Hispanic, 4.1% Asian and Pacific and 1% other classifications. As a result, both patients and health care workers increasingly belong to culturally diverse groups. This phenomenon demands increased awareness and training within organizations to contend with it.

When the organization decides to value and promote diversity within its ranks, it can choose approaches to take to increase diversity. It can determine the level of diversity to pursue, especially at higher management levels; evaluate its healthcare consumer and community racial and ethnic composition; identify the barriers to diversity initiatives, that must be changed; get minorities to participate in activities, which can bring them up the career ladder; from them choose qualified candidates for senior management positions who can mentor new employees from minority groups; and consult with an organizational development specialist on ways to facilitate diversity management.

A study of 14 focus groups on health care delivery system redesign, which addresses difficulties in communication and conflict resolution, listed major considerations for the redesign. These are the evaluation of communication effectiveness by racially diverse members from their own perspectives and as alternate realities; an awareness of reinforcing factors, which deepen the conflict and dissatisfaction; and of leadership as a powerful factor in influencing perceived communication effectiveness of health care delivery.

The organization's health services strategic plan will consist of an assessment phase, an exploration phase, and a transformation phase. In the first phase, patient satisfaction is routinely evaluated and compared with that of other racial and ethnic groups in the organization. Executive management and support staff attend diversity training under the second phase. And in the third phase, the organization applies the learning on the job offers by race and ethnicity.

Vast human and financial resources have been utilized by organizations in undertaking diversity initiatives in every stage and approach. But all the investment does not compare with requirement of continued monitoring and evaluating outcomes, which will show positive or profitable cost-ratio. To insure the worthwhile-ness of the entire endeavor, evaluation methods must be designed and used and participated in by the organization staff at different levels.

Jessamy, H.T. (2000). Making Diversity a Reality. Healthcare Financial Management:

Healthcare Financial Management Association. Retrieved on June 17, 2009 from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3257/is_1_54/ai_59177141/?tag=content;col1

A recently-conducted study, entitled Diversity in Healthcare Leadership, sought out behaviors and attitudes among healthcare executives, which could be obstructing efforts to identify and hire qualified minority employees for finance positions. The study documented the thinking and comments of these executives. They believe that a diverse management team is essential to organizational goals and objectives, yet half of them said that no minority candidates were hired for senior management positions. The majority of these executives at 81% said that minority candidates for the positions were hard to find, although minority respondents disagreed. The management executives believed that women were better able to reach higher ranks than minority candidates. Hence, women were appointed or hired for senior management roles and minorities were not. While almost half of all minority respondents believed that a healthcare organization's personnel staff could improve the minorities' chances of getting promoted within the organization, only 21% of the majority respondents saw the role of recruitment and retention of minorities as important. And while 69% of minority respondents considered the lack of access to minority candidates the greatest barrier to recruitment, only 35% of majority respondents agreed and saw organizational resistance…

Sources Used in Documents:


AHRQ (2007). The national healthcare disparities report, 2006. Agency for Healthcare

Quality and Research, Medscape. Retrieved on June 18, 2009 from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/552271


Alabama Nurse (2004). ANA Review: Institute of Medicine report on workforce diversity,

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