Health inequities persist in underserved communities where access to care is limited and where social determinants impact health outcomes. These areas tend to be poorer and more diverse than communities that are well-served. Currently, health care providers who come from more diverse backgrounds provide the bulk of care for this population of patients in the United States. Language and cultural barriers limit providers’ ability to serve the needs of minority patients in ways that are linguistically and culturally relevant.
Diversity benefits all students – not just those who are underrepresented minorities. Educating students in environments that value diversity and inclusion produces graduates better prepared to practice in underserved communities and whose understanding of the cultural needs of patients improves patient satisfaction and trust.
Nursing students should possess the background, qualities and skills to provide culturally-effective care and meet the needs of a rapidly diversifying patient population. These skills cannot be detected from grades and test scores alone. Holistic review can help schools identify key applicant experiences and attributes that will contribute to a more diverse class and a more effective nursing workforce.