Compared to other healthcare professionals, nurses in nursing homes spend more time with the people for whom they provide care, as their patients are, in fact, residents at these homes. Hence, it is in the best interest of SNFs to hire nurses that can best understand their residents and deliver the best care. That is why diversity in the nursing workforce is a factor that long term care leaders must consider when filling out their staff.
Cleveland Clinic notes that when nursing homes encourage diversity in the nursing workforce, nurses better understand a resident’s cultural background and history. This enhances trust, and communication improves between both parties. Additionally, when residents feel that their caregiver relates to them culturally or ethnically, their level of satisfaction with the quality of care provided increases.
For leaders in long-term care, inclusion and diversity in the nursing workforce are vital; they need all the input they can get to make the right decisions. “Diversity and inclusion means your voice is also heard, and as a leader, if you’re not talking to minority nurses, then you’re not getting all of the input that you need to make good decisions,” said Donna Kelsey, CEO at American Senior Communities. She recently joined Peter Murphy Lewis’ LTC Heroes podcast to discuss Strategic Turnarounds in Long-Term Care.
Recently, the Institute of Medicine published a report on the future of nursing, and in it, they state that cultural diversity in the nursing workforce is part of the solution to achieving health equity, especially for those from minority communities. Minorities currently account for one-third of the US population, and with projections pointing to minority populations becoming the majority by 2043, it serves to reinforce the importance of including minorities in nursing.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) lists the following statistics that further enhance the case for diversity in the nursing workforce:
- The current Registered Nurse (RN) population is 80.8% white, 6.2% African American, 7.5% Asian, 5.3% 5.3% Hispanic, 0.4% Native American, 0.5 Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 1.7% identify as two or more races, and 2.9% as other.
- Men account for only 9.1% of the RN workforce, with the highest numbers of men found in nurse anesthetist positions at 41%
- RNs from minority populations are more likely to pursue higher degrees in nursing when compared to their white counterparts.
- Nursing students from minority backgrounds represent 34.2% of students in entry-level baccalaureate programs, 34.7% of master’s students, 33.0% of students in research-focused doctoral programs, and 34.6% of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students.
- Men comprise 12.9% of students in baccalaureate programs, 12.2% of master’s students, 11.2% of research-focused doctoral students, and 13.4% of DNP students.
As for the advantages that diversity in the nursing workforce offers to long term care facilities, they include:
- A diverse nursing workforce provides more culturally sensitive, customized care for residents.
- Nurses can determine more culturally sensitive models of intervention for residents.
- Nurses can better accommodate and cater to the healthcare needs of different minority groups
- Nurses can create better policies in nursing homes that take into account the different cultures of minority groups.
So how does a nursing home begin to diversify its nursing workforce? It all starts by applying various strategies during the nurse recruitment process.
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10 Recruitment Strategies To Increase Diversity in the Nursing Workforce
Iv Hub reports that over 200,000 new RN positions are expected to be created each year until 2026. With the current staffing crisis affecting long term care facilities, nursing home administrators will have to get creative with their nurse recruitment strategies. Having a more diverse nursing workforce can help, and they can employ the following strategies to achieve this:
1. Advertise In Various Nursing Outlets
Website advertisements, medical journals, email marketing, and conferences are ways nursing homes can seek out nurses to fill their open nursing positions. While doing so, nursing homes should emphasize that they are a welcoming, equal opportunity employer looking to hire those from minority communities.
2. Emphasize Career Advancement
Nurses require specific skills to advance in their careers. Long term care facilities that offer their nurses career advancement opportunities show that they are willing to invest in their nurses for the long term. According to Bellarmine, such career advancement results in greater job satisfaction.
It is not uncommon for nurses to experience burnout after many years of caring for residents. However, when a nurse advances in their career, their duties change. This gets rid of the monotony of the job and leads to greater job satisfaction due to the change of pace.
3. Focus On Work-Life Balance
Nursing homes need nurses, but they should always ask what nurses need from nursing homes. In addition, a nursing home should seek to create the best environment for its workers, as high nursing turnovers negatively affect the quality of care for residents. Hence nursing homes should consider:
- Reducing or minimizing the number of chaotic shifts
- Reducing the amount of overtime from nurses
- Providing therapy to nurses exposed to trauma and death of residents
- Offering paid leave to nurses to allow them to take a break and de-stress
4. Compensate Handsomely
Nurses are currently in demand due to the ongoing staffing crisis. Hence, nursing homes should be ready to compensate their nurses accordingly. Tuition reimbursements and loan repayment programs are some of the current hot recruitment offers that long term care facilities are using to attract nurses.
5. Offer Flexible Schedules
One way to prevent burnout is to offer flexible work schedules. Nurses who balance their work life and their personal life tend to report higher levels of job satisfaction and continue to work in their respective long-term care facilities. Nursing homes should advertise to potential nurses that they offer flexible working hours, as this would be very attractive.
6. Utilize Social Media
Social media is now a big part of our lives, with businesses using social media to communicate with their potential customers. Nursing homes can use social media to reach out to new and experienced nurses and market their nursing home to these nurses.
7. Create Nurse Ambassadors
Nurse ambassadors are nurses who post their positive views about a nursing home online. The testimonials of such long term care nurses are great for marketing, as these individuals are familiar with what other nurses may want. In addition, a nurse ambassador can show potential candidates what a typical day is like and why they would love to work there.
8. Emphasize Workplace Safety
When nursing homes create processes that prevent harm to nurses and implement training programs for prevention, this encourages new nurses to join the nursing home. This is because nurses are always at risk of job injuries and workplace violence. The National Library of Medicine reports that, across several counties, the frequency of workplace violence has increased. Hence an employer showing that they care for their nurses is always welcome.
9. Reach Out to the Next Generation of Nurses
Nursing homes can organize talks in their local schools to let children know that nursing is a potential career path for them. Children from minority backgrounds should also understand that nursing is an option for them if interested and that your nursing home would be welcoming to them as future employees.
10. Encourage Minority Nurses to Get Involved in Community Outreach
When minorities in communities can hear the positive experiences of a minority in nursing, it can encourage others to consider a career in nursing. Therefore, a nursing home can encourage minority nurses to participate in community outreach and share their stories and experiences. This can promote the nursing home’s inclusive culture while at the same time encouraging some to pursue a career in nursing.
The American Senior Communities Commitment To Diversity
Proudly caring for residents since 2000, American Senior Communities considers itself to be the best retirement community for seniors. With a mission to compassionately serve each customer with quality care and excellence, and a vision to be a world-class health organization in your local community that does the right thing, at the right time, the right way, and for the right reason, American Senior Communities employees are guided by the values of:
- Relationships and
American Senior Communities is committed to inclusion and diversity in the nursing workforce, as the company is 73.8% female and 28.4% ethnic minorities. By understanding the importance of diversity in nursing, American Senior Communities can provide quality care for its residents. Kelsey advocates for diversity in the nursing workforce, as she states, “Diversity makes you stronger; it does not weaken us, as we are bringing in new thoughts and new ways of doing things.”
How Leaders And Administrators Can Enhance Diversity in the Nursing Workforce
While there are several organizations—such as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)—dedicated to helping create a more diverse nursing workforce, leaders and administrators can also do their part in enhancing diversity in the nursing workforce
Administrators can encourage their staff to recruit and adequately train minority nurses and work to ensure they maintain a work-life balance. When nurses have a work-life balance, they report higher levels of job satisfaction, and the nursing home has lower nurse turnovers.
Additionally, leaders can help to create an environment that supports diversity and embraces cultural differences. Organizations with an inclusive culture that encourages collaboration, friendliness, and fairness are likely to attract minorities from different backgrounds.
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