The patient population and the nursing workforce are both becoming increasingly diverse in the United States. With diversity comes the need for inclusion. An inclusive workplace ensures that all nurses feel valued for their unique perspectives and talents, and it promotes the delivery of quality healthcare.

What Does Inclusion Mean in Nursing?

Inclusion in nursing means that every nurse is part of all aspects of patient care that pertain to their scope of practice. No nurse should be excluded based on differences such as:

  • Age
  • Culture
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation

Why Is Inclusion in Nursing Important?

Inclusion in nursing is important because all nurses deserve equal treatment. And, inclusion also is necessary in regard to the patient population.

Patients can come from different cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic, and educational backgrounds. Not to mention, they may speak languages other than English. An inclusive healthcare organization that employs a diverse nursing staff is equipped to offer care that fits a wider range of patient needs and preferences.

How Does a Lack of Inclusion Affect Patients and Nurses?

Patients rely on nurses for quality care, delivered with compassion. When patients feel misunderstood or excluded, they may become frustrated and anxious, which may worsen their condition.

On the caregiving end, nurses who do not feel included may become discouraged, which can lead them to seek employment elsewhere.

An inclusive approach can prevent the following situations or at least mitigate fallout:

  • Awkward or uncomfortable conversations between patients and nurses who do not understand each other because of their cultural differences.
  • A care plan that does not incorporate a patient’s preferences and values
  • Miscommunication due to language, cultural, or religious barriers
  • Stereotyping of patients or nurses because of their background or identity

What Steps Can Nurses Take to Support Inclusion?

Nurses can take the following steps to create a more inclusive workplace:

  • Be aware of biases and prejudices to understand how they might distort one’s outlook.
  • Keep negative inclinations in check to provide optimal care.
  • Be adaptable to change and have an open mind when working with others.
  • Know the culture of one’s workplace in order to build strong, inclusive working relationships.

How Does a BSN Prepare Nurses for Inclusion in Nursing?

A BSN prepares nurses with competencies required in today’s complex, increasingly diverse healthcare environment. In an RN to BSN program, students learn the importance of caregiving with mindfulness and cultural sensitivity.

Moreover, students learn even greater communication, collaboration, and leadership skills. Earning a BSN prepares nurses to advocate for and influence healthcare policy reforms that improve care and result in better patient outcomes.

A nursing workforce as diverse as the patients it serves can help end healthcare disparities and contribute to better health outcomes. For inclusion to be intrinsic to healthcare settings, employers can set the tone by maintaining an environment of acceptance and respect.

Learn more about the Nevada State College online RN to BSN program.

Sources: Nurse Diversity and Inclusion Are Inseparable

Minority Nurse: Inclusion, Part 1: Your Role in an Inclusive Work Environment

Forbes: What Should Inclusion Really Look Like in the Workplace?

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: How to Build a More Diverse and Inclusive Nursing Workforce

MedPage Today: The Importance of Diversity in Nursing

Minority Nurse: Workplace Initiatives That Promote Diversity and Inclusion Inclusive Healthcare: Tips for Serving a Diverse Patient Base

American Association of Colleges of Nursing: The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice