In today’s global society, nurses care for patients with diverse cultural backgrounds and varied expectations about the role of health care in their own lives. Though often unintentional, cultural insensitivity by health care staff can hinder a positive patient experience—and even physical health. As the role of medicine and nursing practices vary greatly from culture to culture, nursing schools are strengthening their efforts to attract more minority students and diversify the nursing workforce.

Why is it important to attract underrepresented groups into nursing? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, individuals from ethnic and racial minority groups accounted for more than one third of the U.S. population (37%) in 2012, with projections pointing to minority populations becoming the majority by 2043. A 2013 survey conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing  and The Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers found that nurses from minority backgrounds represent approximately 17% of the registered nurse workforce: African Americans 6%; Asians 6%; Hispanic/Latinos 3%; American Indian/Alaskan Natives 1%; and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders 1%.

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