As a minority nurse, you know diversity and inclusion means much more than what the people in your organization look like and where they have come from.

Diversity and inclusion is absolutely focused on creating a nursing workforce that more closely mirrors the different populations in a given area. But diversity and inclusion also means more because the culture of a workplace needs to feel comfortable to the people who work there.

If you’re a nursing leader you hold a responsibility for hiring the right people, and also for creating an environment where employees feel like they can be their authentic selves. When employees feel like they are able to bring the things that make them different to work—whether that’s their affinity for studying languages or for making cat toys for shelters or for four-wheeling in their spare time—it’s up to the organization to honor what they bring to your organization.

The Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) offers resources for making sure your workplace is not just diverse on the surface, but also goes deeper to be welcoming to employees.

What can you do to make sure your working environment is inclusive to all your employees?

Find the Right People

Make hiring high-quality workers who are similar to the populations you serve a priority. The more diversity you have, the more perspectives you’ll have. That only results in better care for your patients.

Understand the Concerns

Assess the culture of your workplace with open forums and anonymous comment boxes and bring your talent management team in on the results. Ask your employees for feedback about what feels right and what makes the workplace uncomfortable or unproductive for them.

Listen and Respond

Your team wants to be heard. They have voices and experiences that can make your unit stronger, more efficient, more effective, and more in tune to the needs of your patients. Make sure what they say matters, so listen to their concerns and work with them to develop meaningful solutions.

Keep It in the Open

Whatever changes you make probably won’t make everyone happy, but they should address an identified problem that will move your organization toward its goal of inclusivity. Each solution might look different. Sometimes, education about how different cultures make healthcare decisions will dispel misunderstandings. Sometimes it might be a direct policy that will address blatant mircroaggressions against people on your team. Many times, it is an open and honest celebration of they differences among your team members that will make them feel like they have found a place where they can flourish.

Look at the Outcome

In the end, a diverse workforce is essential and will meet many or your organization’s goals. But being an inclusive team is what makes employees committed to where they work and focused on the job at hand.

The outcome is better patient care, longer employee retention, an increased reputation as a fair employer in the community and the industry, and nurses who become ambassadors for your organization.

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil is a freelance writer based in Bolton, Massachusetts.
Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

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