Diversity Toolkit – Intro

exploring nursing2

The need to diversify the nursing workforce in Nebraska is essential. The overall goal of this toolkit is to ensure a response in Nebraska that addresses the health care needs of an increasingly diverse population.

This toolkit is a product of NAC’s State Implementation Program (SIP) grant funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). It is a response to the call by the Institute of Medicine’s 2010 landmark report “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health”.

Designed for use by students, employees/employers of healthcare organizations, second career/non-traditional prospects (those looking for a new career path), school nurses, teachers, school guidance counselors, and collegiate preparatory programs the toolkit seeks to increase interest in the nursing profession.

This resource, while broad, does not contain all possible sources of information and is meant to stimulate thinking about entrance into the nursing profession.

The Nebraska Action Coalition (NAC) – Future of Nursing defines diversity as “racial/ethnic minorities, men, and rural individuals.” Research states that nurses representing minority/ethnic populations improve health outcomes. According to the Nebraska RN Survey Report  prepared by Nebraska’s Center for Nursing, the percentage of minority racial/ethnic RNs in 2014 was 6%. Nebraska’s general population estimate in 2013 was 19% ethnically or racially diverse, and that percentage continues to increase.

Although the field of nursing is female-dominated, men play an important role in the profession and are highly sought out and valued. In the U. S., more men entered nursing in the 1980s and 1990s in response to inflation and the economy. However, there is still an enormous and ongoing shortage. In 2014, 94.0% of Nebraska’s nursing workforce identified themselves as female, and only 6.0% identified as male

Nebraska faces the most critical nursing shortage in rural areas of the state. Results reveal a discrepancy in RN per capita distribution between rural and urban areas: urbanized areas have 13.6 RNs per 1,000 people; in comparison, non-urbanized areas have 8.5 RNs per 1,000 people. In addition, the trend of an aging nursing workforce is especially significant for rural areas of the State. In rural Nebraska, the current average age of nurses is 1.5 years older than in metropolitan areas, a difference that is statistically significant.

Number of RNs by County – 2014

Number of Nebraska RNs by county 2014