Strategies to Increase Nursing Student Diversity

Monday, 9 November 2015

Asako, T. Katsumata, PhD, ME, BA, RN1
Victoria McCoy, BSN, RN, ONC2
Andrea Doughty, PhD2
Terese Burch, PhD, RN2
(1)Saint Anthony College of Nursing, OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, Rockford, IL, USA
(2)Saint Anthony College of Nursing, Rockford, IL, USA

Background: The US population is becoming more and more diversified. According to the year 2010 national census, the population was distributed as 72.6% white, 16.3% Hispanic, 12.6% African American, and 4.8% Asian. The most recent national figures on registered nurses indicate that 83.2% are white, 3.6% Hispanic, 5.4% African American, and 5.5% Asian. To provide socially and culturally competent patient care, it is necessary for nursing programs to produce diversified graduates.

The objective of the project is to identify barriers to enrollment for the under-represented groups, i.e. African Americans, Hispanics and males, and to form action plans to recruit well qualified students to increase student diversity in nursing programs.

Method: This is a qualitative study utilizing interviews with members of the target groups and nursing program recruiters. The project was done in three phases: 1). A literature review to determine successful recruitment strategies currently being used by nursing programs; 2) interviews with members of the target groups and nursing program recruiters; and 3). Development of a recruitment plan to help guide nursing colleges in diversifying the student body.

Result: The major themes of barriers for the under-represented groups include lack of media image, role models, educational resources, money for tuition, guidance, opportunities, math and science academic foundation, confidence, and perseverance. The actions plans for recruiting diversified students include 1.) introduce nursing as a profession by utilizing multimedia, TV, radio, newspaper, pamphlet, internet and live presentation at middle schools, high schools, junior colleges, churches, shopping centers, community centers that have higher Hispanic, African American and/or male populations; 2). promote the importance and the reward of nursing as a profession by relating case scenarios and retelling positive stories from patients and nurses; 3). establish role models of Hispanic, African American and/or male nurses and/or nursing students in the communities by inviting members of these groups to meet with and talk to prospective nursing students at various nursing promotions, such middle and high school career days, college career fairs and community job fairs; 4). provide counseling on financial resources available to potential nursing students by detailing the financial obligations for nursing programs, the federal and state financial funding, the private sect loans, the scholarships available, and most importantly let the prospective students know that they will have guidance for the financial planning through the whole nursing program; 5). mentor potential nursing students to set up goals for their professional growth, to prioritize their goals and to persevere in achieving their goal to enroll in nursing program