Lack of Ethnic Diversity in Healthcare Professions

Julie Shenkman
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The number of non-white Americans is projected to rise by 50 percent between 2000 and 2020. At the same time, the racial and ethnic diversity in the health professions seems to be falling behind.
Many groups, especially African Americans and Latinos are underrepresented in the nursing profession. Some studies suggest that the lack of diversity in nursing can be attributed to the lack of educational opportunities among ethnic groups.
Today's health care professions call for high levels of education, including college degrees. Since fewer members of minority groups finish high school and even fewer graduate from college, those able to pursue careers in nursing and other healthcare fields represent a declining number.
Another factor accounting for the disparity in minority entrants into healthcare professions is one of desire. Racial/ethnic minorities who enter college may be less likely than whites to earn nursing degrees. When it comes to female-dominated professions requiring a college degree, most minorities choose other career tracks—like teaching.
Suggestions for improving this imbalance vary. They include conducting personal interviews with students to answer questions and clarify any misconceptions. Offering scholarships and holding pre-admission meetings would also help applicants enter nursing programs. Another tactic is to provide high school students with nursing literature that clearly spells out how students can prepare for nursing education. Still another approach would draw high school students into nursing programs and hospitals via "open houses" and walkthroughs to give them a feel for healthcare careers. These efforts would be supplemented with counseling to prepare students for college.
For an additional perspective, check out this video:
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Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients.

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  • Darrence
    Cool post!
  • Kiona
    Thank God! Someone with brains speaks!

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