Diversity in Nursing

Diversity in Nursing is a popular topic in the world of Nursing. But, why is diversity an issue and what can we do to make improvements? I have noticed people and some nurses; really do not understand the issue of diversity in nursing. In addition, why is diversity in nursing the elephant in the room? There is a need to have diversity in the population of nurses because of the diverse population of patients.

Diversity in Nursing Statistics

Let’s review the statistics and ethnicities in nursing:

How do minority nurses self-identify? 

9.9% of RNs are Black or African American (non-Hispanic);
8.3% are Asian;
4.8% are Hispanic or Latino;
1.3% categorize themselves as two or more race;
0.4% are American Indian or Alaskan Native.

Let’s review the statistics and ethnicities of the US population:

12.3% are Black or African American (non-Hispanic);
3.6% are Asian;
12.4% are Hispanic or Latino;
2.4% categorize themselves as two or more race;
0.9% are American Indian or Alaskan Native.


Ethnicities (2016) US Population Minority Nurses Minority Nurses Needed by 2020
Black or African American 9.9% 12.3% 2.4% 
Asian 8.3% 3.6% +4.7 % (surplus)
Hispanic or Latino 4.8% 12.4% 7.6%
Two or more races 1.3% 2.4% 1.1%
American Indian/Alaskan 0.4% 0.9% 0.5%


The table above list the needs in the minority community related to the US population and minority nurses. There is a need for more minority nurses to equal the population of the United States. Of all the ethnicities listed the Asian minority has the surplus of nurses.

Diversity in nursing would benefit & improve healthcare.

There is a need to know Diversity Awareness, as we have envisioned it, is acknowledgement and appreciation of the existence of differences in attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, and priorities in the health-seeking behaviors of different patient populations; it reflects the nursing profession’s contract with society and our responsibility to act according to a strong code of ethics, i.e., to be aware of our own attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, and priorities in providing care to individual patients, families, communities, and populations (ANA, 2016).

Nursing is the largest population of healthcare workers. There would be many benefits of increasing minority nurses. Diversity in nursing would provide opportunities for improved quality care for patient emotional and satisfaction needs. Nurses from various minority ethnic & racial groups are able to relate the patients who are from the similar backgrounds.

In addition, there is a need to have diversity in nursing schools. Minority nursing students are in need of role models in nursing schools. Providing minority nursing students with faculty from various backgrounds demonstrates a respect & appreciation for ethnic and racial groups. The diverse nurse educator can share experiences and provide guidance to become successful in the nursing education field.

For all of those reasons, and from my own experience as an African-American nurse, I am convinced that diversity in nursing would improve healthcare and patient satisfaction in the US.

About the Author:

Nicole M. Brown, RN, MSN is the founder of the Nursing Success College. She am a nurse educator with over 20 years of nursing experience. In addition, she is a current doctoral candidate and an Army veteran. She has garnered a lifetime of experience as a nurse and educator. Her nursing career and experiences have included small and large hospitals and being on the staff of several colleges and universities as a nurse educator. She is also the founder and creator of The Nurse Dolls.


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3 thoughts on “Diversity in Nursing”

  1. bethboynton80539889

    I agree, Nicole and thank you for shedding light on this topic and a great perspective on improving healthcare as a result of ensuring a diverse workforce at all levels and in school. We work with or serve the full spectrum of diversity as healthcare professionals and IMHO if we can learn to accept and grow from our differences and trust what we have in common we can role model very important ‘stuff’!

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