NURS 6221:Week 9: Managing Diversity in the Workplace

At the 2012 National Leadership and Education Conference, the University of California Davis Medical Center received an award for promoting diversity. The Med Center was recognized as “Best in Class” for Diversity Management and Workforce, a category that is judged based on a hospital’s efforts to recruit, retain, and promote minority individuals in the workplace.

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The advantages of diversity in the workplace are noteworthy; however, diversity also adds another layer of complexity to human resource management. Diversity can bring with it wide variations in how situations are approached, interpreted, and even communicated. It can also add to the depth and richness of the workplace. When all employees are respected and contribute to discussions and problem solving, the solutions tend to be more robust and effective.

The challenge for nurse managers is to appreciate and build on the various strengths that each individual brings to the workplace while also building cohesive relationships that capitalize on the very best that each employee has to offer.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Analyze the impact of diversity in workplaces
  • Evaluate strategies nurse managers can use to mitigate diversity issues
  • Analyze difficulties that work environments might pose to older workers*
  • Evaluate strategies for engaging and retaining older workers*

* The Assignment related to this Learning Objective is introduced this week and submitted in Week 10.

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Beheri, W. H. (2009). Diversity within nursing: Effects on nurse-nurse interaction, job satisfaction, and turnover. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 33(3), 216–226. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Beheri’s article examines the effects of diversity in nursing. The study found that nurses who are satisfied with their jobs and have a higher level of education are more likely to tap into the potential offered by cultural diversity.

Collins-McNeil, J., Sharpe, D., & Benbow, D. (2012). Performance potential. Aging workforce: Retaining valuable nurses. Nursing Management, 43(3), 50–51. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Due to the increasing connectivity between patient safety and government-sponsored financial incentives, it is important for nurse managers to understand the specific language used by finance. This article examines the importance of this topic.

Harton, B. B., Marshburn, D., Kuykendall, J., Poston, C., & Mears, D. A. (2012). Self-scheduling: Help or hindrance? Nursing Management, 43(1), 10–12. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

This article discusses the possibility of allowing nurses to create their own schedules to boost retention.

Outten, M. K. (2012). From veterans to nexters: Managing a multigenerational nursing workforce. Nursing Management, 43(4), 42–47. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

The author of this article addresses the need for effective management of a multigenerational workforce. Increased nurse turnover and interpersonal conflict are some of the consequences of overlooking this type of diversity.

Wisotzkey, S. (2011). Will they stay or will they go? Insight into nursing turnover. Nursing Management, 42(2), 15–17. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

In this article, the author focuses on creating a work environment that will decrease the effects of nurse turnover. The author states that organizational commitment has the most direct effect on these turnover rates.

Optional Resources

Manion, J. (2009). Managing the multi-generational nursing workforce: Managerial and policy implications (White Paper). Retrieved from International Centre for Human Resources in Nursing website: http://www.hrhresourcecenter.org/node/2377

Hatcher, B. J. (Ed.). (2006). Wisdom at work: The importance of the older and experienced nurse in the workplace (White Paper). Retrieved from National Academy on an Aging Society website: http://www.agingsociety.org/agingsociety/links/wisdomatwork.pdf

Chambers, P. D. (2010). Tap the unique strengths of the millennial generation. Nursing, 40(2), 48–51. Retrieved from http://journals.lww.com/nursing/Citation/2010/02000/Tap_the_unique_strengths_of_the_millennial.18

Creating and managing a diverse workforce is a process, not a destination.

—R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr.

What concepts come to mind when you think of diversity? What kinds of diversity exist in your workplace? How does diversity impact communication, working relationships, productivity, and patient care?

In the workplace, focusing on differences can create divisiveness. Nurse managers should approach diversity as a way to highlight, communicate, and build on the commonalities of their workforce. Modeling this behavior can encourage appreciation for diversity and create a more positive workplace environment. When managing a diverse workforce, nurse managers should never make assumptions about an individual’s motivations, goals, or work ethic based upon personal traits such as age, gender, race, or culture. Nurse managers should strive to facilitate an inclusive environment for all.

To prepare

  • Review the article, “Diversity within Nursing: Effects on Nurse-Nurse Interaction, Job Satisfaction, and Turnover.” Examine Figure 1 on p. 218. Determine how these and other diversity issues might impact the interaction of nurses in the workplace.
  • Consider situations in your current organization or one with which you are familiar in which obvious diversity exists. How do these types of diversity issues affect the daily work environment?
  • Examine this week’s Learning Resources to identify strategies for finding commonalities among workers. How might these strategies also help to increase appreciation of diversity within the workplace?

By Day 3

Post an explanation of how diversity-related issues impact your current organization or one with which you are familiar. If you do not believe there are any issues related to diversity, explain how this workplace instills a culture of acceptance and positivity. Conclude your posting by describing at least two commonalties everyone in this workplace shares and at least one new strategy you could implement to increase appreciation of both differences and similarities.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days using one or more of the following approaches:

  • Appraise a colleague’s strategy by providing insight into whether or not this strategy could effectively mitigate diversity issues. Support your comments by using authentic examples and references to this week’s Learning Resources.
  • Suggest an additional strategy a colleague could use to mitigate diversity issues.

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