Diversity of the Healthcare Workforce Essay

Diversity of the Healthcare Workforce

There are various issues more critical in the national conversation than access to health care. The center of the U.S. health care debate revolves around how to best offer a basic, yet affordable care level for many people as possible. In the healthcare workforce, there is the issue of diversity. According to Wilbur et al. (2020), increasing the ethnic and racial diversity of the healthcare workforce is critical to adequately provide culturally competent care to the burgeoning minority communities. Diversity in the healthcare workforce has implications in the healthcare industry. For instance, a diverse healthcare workforce continues to expand the overall access to health care, especially for the underserved in the community, boost research neglected societal need areas (Cohen et al., 2002), and enrich the managers and policymakers’ pool towards meeting the needs of a diverse population.

           A diverse workforce advances cultural competence in the healthcare industry. Given the rapidly changing demography of the U.S., Figueroa et al. (2019) emphasize that the majority of healthcare professionals and medical practitioners are continually called upon to care for a lot of patients from different backgrounds. In this case, a need for a diverse workforce would boost the prospects of the healthcare industry in terms of a better understanding of how and why varying belief systems, ethnic origins, cultural biases, and family structures (Wilbur et al., 2020), including other culturally determined factors influencing how people presume illness adhere and respond to medical treatment.

           Accordingly, a diverse workforce in healthcare also has impacted the extent and the level of access to health care for various groups. Here, a diverse workforce influences access to health care for the underserved. According to Cohen et al. (2002), inadequate access to health care services remains a huge problem within minority groups. In the U.S, the designated health professions shortage areas (HPSAs) experience huge population of minorities as is the case in California where the supply of healthcare professionals has shown to be inversely related to the population of Hispanics and African Americans even after adjustments for income levels (Cohen et al., 2002). Therefore, a diverse workforce in healthcare influences, and consequently, increase access for the minority groups to health care.

Accordingly, healthcare organizations seek to provide optimal patient care by addressing cultural competence and diversity. Some of the implications in the healthcare industry include better patient care as they (patients) end up understanding their treatment and care plans in a language they can speak and read. Other effects include the improvement of patient outcomes. Wilbur et al. (2020) conclude that ethnic and racial minorities have higher rates of poor health results and outcomes compared to their white counterparts. Therefore, more culturally competent and diverse health care professionals in the industry would help reduce instances of health disparities.

           Currently, there are initiatives/strategies formulated to influence the diversity trend in the healthcare industry. The formulation of workforce diversity programs in various healthcare organizations is an initiative that ensures new healthcare professionals enroll and learn different cultural and ethnic/racial backgrounds for better provision of health care services (Wilbur et al., 2020). Education and training of healthcare professionals on the essence and importance of diversity are crucial as it provides an opportunity to learn about real-life scenarios where they can be better placed to handle different instances (Figueroa et al., 2019). The promotion of flexibility is another strategy that allows for the handling of different diversity situations involving patients, which can be boosted through the recognition and development of the provider-patient relationship.

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