While many typically associate nursing with their impact on individual patients, these professionals can also make a dramatic impact on the communities they serve. However, there are some traits that can make nursing teams more effective in their ability to truly make a difference in communities and forge deeper connections with patients.
Namely, diversity is a powerful characteristic of nursing teams that are most capable of making deep, lasting changes in their communities. Understanding how diversity impacts nursing teams can give one a broader understanding of the way healthcare functions and healthcare professionals connect with patients.
Here is how diverse nursing teams can make a lasting impact on their communities.
Cultivating Empathy Through the Practice of Transcultural Nursing
As healthcare in America has evolved over the last several decades, the need to be more culturally sensitive to patients receiving care has become abundantly clear. Thankfully, some powerful concepts have been crafted to help address the needs of a culturally diverse patient population.
Transcultural nursing is a concept that aims to act as a framework that helps healthcare workers be mindful of the cultural needs of the patients they treat and, in some cases, integrate this cultural understanding into care and treatments. In essence, transcultural nursing aims to ensure that each patient, regardless of background or culture, is able to receive culturally sensitive care.
Unfortunately, imbuing an entire nursing team with a working knowledge of transcultural nursing can be difficult, especially in areas where nurses deal with a wide variety of patients from a plethora of backgrounds. However, there are ways to lessen the learning curve and make it easier and more intuitive for entire nursing teams to develop a deep understanding of a range of cultures.
Diverse nursing teams can make it easier for each individual nurse to develop a thorough understanding of various cultures. This comes from the fact that diverse nursing teams bring a variety of perspectives to the table, constantly exposing all team members to new understandings of various cultures and cultural identities.
Given the increased levels of cultural sensitivity that come from diverse nursing teams, it makes sense that working to add more diversity to healthcare departments can help prepare medical institutions for an evolving America that has a diverse and varied patient population.
Connecting More Deeply with Communities Through Representation
Healthcare organizations can play a key role in helping individuals reach optimal health outcomes in certain communities. Whether it’s due to poverty or a lack of healthcare-related resources, some communities suffer from higher than average rates of certain ailments and, as a result, higher morbidity rates. In these scenarios, healthcare personnel, especially nursing teams, can play a key role in assisting community members and promoting good health.
Unfortunately, it may be more difficult for some nursing teams to forge deep connections with communities when their team lacks diversity. This occurs because members of the community may feel less inclined to forge deep bonds and connections with members of nursing teams where they don’t see themselves represented.
Cultivating diverse nursing teams is an effective and beneficial solution to the challenge of building trust within communities. By seeing themselves represented in nursing teams, community members will be more open to forging deeper bonds with their healthcare providers. Through the cultivation of this trust, nursing teams have the ability to truly help individuals change their behaviors and experience positive health outcomes that are lasting and profound.
Ideating More Effectively to Find Solutions to Community-Related Challenges
In recent years, more and more organizations — in healthcare and beyond — have begun to engage in initiatives to increase diversity and levels of inclusion. The results, resoundingly, have been that promoting diversity in the workplace has a number of profound benefits that can greatly improve organizational processes in several key ways.
In particular, it’s been found that more diverse teams are better at decision-making and finding effective solutions to overcome challenges. In the context of healthcare and the impact of healthcare organizations on the communities they engage with, this can have immensely beneficial impacts that can improve the lives of community members in significant ways.
Today, healthcare is dealing with a number of challenges that involve providing deep and meaningful care to communities that lack the proper healthcare resources. In particular, rural communities have been experiencing a marked decrease in positive health outcomes as a result of not having the proper healthcare-related resources.
Diverse nursing teams can make healthcare organizations more effective in their ability to generate solutions to these types of challenges and make lasting impacts on the communities they serve. As such, organizations intent on becoming more capable of overcoming challenges and making a profound impact on the lives of the patients they serve should engage in initiatives to increase diversity in their nursing teams.
Diversity Is a Key Aspect of Strengthening Nursing Teams
As the American patient landscape evolves and becomes more diverse, nursing teams should grow as well to better represent the patients that they are caring for. From being more sensitive to the cultural differences of patients to connecting more deeply with the communities they serve, increasing diversity in nursing teams gives healthcare organizations a chance to benefit in a number of impactful ways.
Though there is still progress to be made in the coming decades, it seems more than likely that more and more healthcare organizations will work to diversify their staff and create more inclusive operations.
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Guest Author Bio
With a Bachelor’s in Health Science along with an MBA, Sarah Daren has a wealth of knowledge within both the health and business sectors. Her expertise in scaling and identifying ways tech can improve the lives of others has led Sarah to be a consultant for a number of startup businesses, most prominently in the wellness industry, wearable technology and health education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life with a focus on making America a healthier and safer place for future generations to come.