Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices in Healthcare
As is the case in many industries, healthcare organizations are looking for ways to improve diversity and inclusion in their workplaces. However, identifying diversity and inclusion best practices in healthcare can pose a challenge. The following strategies can guide healthcare organizations when developing effective strategies to recruit and retain diverse staff.
Areas to Address
Efforts to improve diversity and inclusion in a healthcare setting should focus on the following areas:
Organizations should work to understand the backgrounds of associates and the patients they serve. These background factors include the following:
- Religious beliefs.
- Sexual orientation.
- Socioeconomic status.
In addition to diversity and inclusion training and discussions for current staff, healthcare organizations should strive to hire and retain a workforce representing the patient populations they serve.
Inclusion means giving associates and patients from all backgrounds a voice in providing and receiving high-quality care. This act starts with encouraging a diverse healthcare staff to participate in the patient experience.
Efforts cannot end with creating a workforce comprised of people from different backgrounds. Equity involves making sure healthcare associates have the right tools to effectively do their jobs while ensuring patients have what they need to benefit from the best treatment practices.
Examples of Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices in Healthcare
Bolstering diversity and inclusion efforts gives healthcare organizations the chance to help patients receiving care and associates providing that care. Diversity and inclusion best practices in healthcare include the following:
- Establish a diversity and inclusion team with ambassadors: Dedicated diversity and inclusion ambassadors can bring cultural awareness and perspectives to the forefront. They can challenge ingrained ways of providing services that can leave some patients feeling uncomfortable.
- Make diversity and inclusion issues an everyday conversation: Diversity and inclusion issues cannot exist as a one-time training module but can instead be part of daily operations. Organizations can ensure regular communication by creating daily team huddles that offer a safe space.
- Encourage training and development: Don't overlook formal training. Training and development programs can educate staff about recognizing unconscious biases to challenge assumptions.
- Create development opportunities for women and minorities: Women and minorities receive fewer assignments that can spur career growth. However, healthcare organizations cannot develop programs and think they've done enough. Organizations must also effectively communicate the availability of programs and champion associates who participate.
Why Are Diversity and Inclusion in Healthcare Important?
Healthcare organizations have a responsibility to improve diversity and inclusion for patients and associates alike. Diversity and inclusion efforts can significantly enhance associates' experiences from various workplace backgrounds, helping attract qualified associates to work for an organization and retain high-performing associates. A diverse staff also helps patients from underrepresented backgrounds to feel more comfortable during their hospital stay. Diversity and inclusion directly impact patient health outcomes and quality of life.
Diversity and inclusion are essential in keeping associates engaged and improving the patient experience. These diversity and inclusion best practices in healthcare can help guide healthcare organizations in developing effective strategies.