Healthcare Employer: Diverse Solution With Equal Opportunities

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America has long been considered a melting pot of people and cultures from across the globe.

This metaphor first came into play in the 1700s as hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Europe and other countries began flocking to the nation before it even officially became a nation.

It was considered the New World at that point, and each person who came to the country brought their own little piece of the Old World along with them. 

Over time, that influx of different cultures, languages, religions, lifestyles, and ways of thinking gave rise to an incredibly diverse nation.

In fact, the United States has become a symbol of diversity in many people's eyes. It's still growing and evolving even today.

All you really have to do is venture out to a grocery store or restaurant to see the level of multiculturalism in most places.

Almost everywhere you go, you can see it in some way whether it's in the local architecture, the types of stores and restaurants there are in an area, or simply the people you encounter while you're out and about.

Granted, some areas are more diverse than others, and the type of diversity you see is different depending on where you're looking.

There's no denying that it's there, though. It's sure to continue to spread and change moving forward.

As it does, it'll continue to shape not only America as a whole but also all of its individual pieces. 

A lack of diversity in healthcare

Of course, when you visit a local hospital or doctor's office, you're likely to see a bit of the country's diversity there as well.

As you sit in the waiting room of a clinic or pass through the lobby and hallways of a hospital, you're bound to encounter people of all walks of life.

You might hear a vast range of languages being spoken all around you and see a variety of behaviors and mindsets.

Like you, all of the people you're surrounded by are either waiting for much-needed medical care or providing emotional support for a sick or injured loved one. 

Behind the scenes, though, that divergence generally begins to fade, doesn't it?

In most cases, medical facilities' staff members aren't nearly as varied as their patients.

Many healthcare facilities are willing to bring in medical professionals of different genders, cultures, religions, and backgrounds, but that's not reflected in their workforce.

Though they're open to diversity, most just aren't quite there yet.

A lack of diversity in healthcare

Still, numerous benefits can come from being an equal opportunity employer in the medical field.

Why is diversity important in the medical field?

Diversity is essential in healthcare for several reasons.

Those apply to medical facilities' care teams as well as their patients and communities.

In general, statistics show that the majority of physicians are Caucasian males while the lion's share of nurses are Caucasian females.

That doesn't hold true in all corners of the country, but statistically, it's the norm. Branching out can benefit everyone involved. 

Improved patient care

Overall, having a more diverse team of medical professionals can lead to improved patient care and outcomes from both the short- and long-term perspective.

That comes from several factors.

On the most basic level, there's the language barrier to consider. 

If a patient comes in for help and no one on a facility's medical staff speaks his or her language, how will they communicate with each other?

It's difficult to treat someone if they can't explain their symptoms, when they started, and other important details.

Many patients, nurses, and doctors resort to Google translate on their phones to break down that barrier, but that can only go so far.

Improved patient care

Some patients bring bilingual family members along with them for added support.

That's helpful, but it's not an effective substitute for being able to communicate directly with a patient.

Something always gets lost in the translation, and miscommunications in healthcare can often be particularly dangerous. 

That's only one point to consider here, though.

Being able to provide what's known as culturally competent care is also important.

That means being able to understand how people from different cultures view medical treatments and the roles of their healthcare providers.

It entails understanding those people's beliefs, values, and needs.

There's an old idiom that points out you can't really understand a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes.

That's just as relevant in healthcare as it is in other aspects of life, perhaps even more so.

Having a team of people from varying cultures and backgrounds means being able to identify with more patients.

In turn, it means being able to help them more effectively.

It'll lead to fewer miscommunications, greater understanding and empathy, and by extension, a healthier community. 

Greater patient satisfaction

Diversity in healthcare can also bring about higher patient satisfaction rates.

After all, the better patients are able to communicate with their healthcare providers and the more effective their care is, the happier they're going to be.

Greater patient satisfaction

Being able to connect with medical providers on a deeper level and feeling like their culture is represented also creates a stronger bond of trust between patients and their doctors and nurses.

That, alone, can make a world of difference.

When patients trust their healthcare providers and are more satisfied with the care they receive, they're more apt to seek medical attention.

They're not as likely to ignore minor illnesses and ongoing symptoms as they are if they have no faith in their doctors.

They're less likely to cancel appointments or simply not show up at all after booking them.

They tend to be more open and honest with their doctors, and they usually follow their treatment plans more closely. 

As such, their chances of staying healthier and living longer improve.

Those who seek medical care when needed instead of avoiding it end up needing less emergency care and are less likely to be hospitalized as well.

That saves money for patients as well as the healthcare systems they depend on.

Beyond that, when patients are satisfied with their medical care, they're likely to pass that sentiment along to other people, which translates to more recommendations, more incoming patients, increasingly healthy communities, and the positive cycle continues indefinitely. 

Avoiding tokenism and alienation

Another reason why diversity is crucial in healthcare is avoiding tokenism and alienation.

Tokenism, in this sense, is the practice of only hiring one or two medical professionals from minority cultures as a symbolic effort to create a diverse healthcare team.

It makes it seem as though a hospital or clinic is pretending to embrace diversity only for show.

That may not actually be the case, but it's not easy to convince the public otherwise. 

If members of a community feel their culture, ethnicity, or lifestyle is underrepresented at a particular medical facility or they believe that facility is biased against them, they'll feel alienated.

With that being the case, they're probably not going to turn to that provider for care.

Of course, if that lack of diversity extends beyond a single medical facility, encompassing an entire community, city, or beyond, those patients are going to feel even less welcome.

The further that stagnation goes, the less likely patients of different backgrounds are to reach out for medical care. 

Patients aren't the only people who are affected by that concept; it applies to facilities' medical teams as well.

Avoiding tokenism and alienation

If a hospital or medical practice has only a small handful of staff members who fall outside the statistical box, those few may feel isolated and unwelcome.

Even if none of the other team members overtly treat them unfairly, they may still feel as though they stand out a bit too much for comfort.

They may not have much in common with their fellow professionals, either. Some medical facilities have lost incredibly valuable team members for that very reason. 

More creativity and innovation

Finally, having a diverse healthcare team brings more creativity and innovation to the table.

People of different cultures, backgrounds, and other variations have different different mindsets, ideas, and approaches to medical care.

They all bring in new ideas, and they can combine those ideas to create a higher level of care.

They can work together to more successfully put all those ideas into practice as well.

That benefits patients, healthcare teams, and medical facilities as a whole, and its positive effects extend well beyond those points. 

Reaping the rewards of more diverse healthcare teams

At this point, many areas don't see a great deal of diversity in medical care.

No matter how much variation there is in the surrounding community, it just doesn't extend to the local medical facilities.

That lack of diversity is holding back those medical facilities and their patients alike. 

Branching out is the key to providing more effective, well-rounded medical care.

Though many areas don't have a very diverse talent pool to draw from, working with healthcare staffing agencies can change that.

They work with vast networks of professionals from across the country and around the world.

Those prospects come from an array of cultures and backgrounds.

They can use their unique skill sets and combine them with those of other team members for the benefit of the community.

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