Free «Diversity in Health Care» Essay Sample

Diversity in Health Care

1. What does the Term Diversity Mean Today?

Diversity encompasses respect as well as acceptance. It refers to the understanding that every person is unique. Diversity involves recognition of our existing individual differences. These can be socioeconomic status, religious and political beliefs, physical abilities, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, gender and other ideological differences. Diversity entails exploration of the dissimilarities in a positive, nurturing and safe environment. It requires understanding one another and moving beyond just tolerating each other to celebrating and embracing the rich diversity dimensions contained in every individual. Diversity includes understanding other people and knowing the importance of respecting people’s individual rights (Davis, 1997). It involves the appreciation of the fact that no culture is inherently superior to the others. Multiculturalism is, in fact, something we should embrace as it enhances our relations with one another.

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Diversity is some form of a reality established by groups and individuals from a broad spectrum of philosophical and demographic differences. It is important to protect and support diversity through valuing groups and individuals without prejudice. This process involves creating a climate that intrinsically is characterized by mutual respect and equity. Therefore, diversity goes beyond tolerating and acknowledging differences. Diversity is an assortment of many conscious practices that entails appreciating and understanding interdependence of cultures, natural environment and humanity. It also involves the practice of mutual respect and recognition that institutionalized, personal and cultural discrimination sustains and creates privileges to some people while simultaneously sustains the demerits for others.

2. Define the Meaning of Cultural Competence.

Cultural competence involves an assortment of congruent policies, behaviors and attitudes in an organization that enables people to work in cross-cultural circumstances. It includes the transformation and integration of knowledge regarding groups and individuals into specific attitudes, practices, policies and standards used in apposite cultural settings with the intent of increasing service quality to produce better outcomes. Cultural competence involves effective interaction amongst people of various socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds (Borkowski, 2011). Moreover, cultural competence plays an important role in organizations where workers from dissimilar cultural backgrounds are employed. It is significant to be fully aware of one’s cultural worldview to have cultural competence. . Cultivating positive attitudes towards other cultures solidifies cultural competence. Cross-cultural skills come in handy in developing such an attitude and knowing other cultural worldviews. Interacting with other people effectively regardless of their cultures is important in work environments today.

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3. What does the Term “Diversity Management” Mean?

Diversity management refers to a strategy tailored to maintain and foster a positive workplace environment. It seeks to promote respect and recognition of individual differences amongst employees. Diversity management entails encouragement for the workers to feel comfortable with their diversity as well as appreciate their differences in sexual orientation, background, race, gender, etc. The foremost underlying principle of diversity management is an acceptance. It is important for individuals to retain their ethics and values. It involves people to appreciate each other’s cultures instead of being prejudiced and intimidated by the differences. Employees should understand their diverse values and interests, emotional and physical characteristics within the work environment. Additionally, the appreciation of diversity promotes attainment of organizational objectives and goals.

Diversity management is adaptable to most dissimilar work environments due to promoting recognition, as well as accepting diversity amongst employees. It converts hostile work environment into a convivial one where employees can freely support and communicate with one another while executing tasks related to the job. Diversity-focused programs bolster up an organization’s productivity levels (Isaacs &Benjamin, 1991). Diversity management enhances development of talents and latent skills amongst employees. It facilitates occupational mobility since employees do not have to worry about factors like sexual orientation, race or gender. Such an approach makes employees feel valued and appreciated. While diversity management is never a one-off task, with structured efforts, time and patience, educating employees to embrace diversity will enhance communication amongst employees, and this will improve their productivity.

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4. How have Changes in U.S. Demographics Affected the Health Care Industry?

In the U.S., the population is increasingly growing older. The country’s workforce reflects these and many other demographic changes. Due to the changing demographics, there have been major effects on the health care industry. Like many other industries, employers are predicting labor shortages. Thus, the need to retain their current workers has arisen. This has resulted in a bid to avert losing knowledgeable and experienced employees. During the past three decades, demographical changes in the U.S. have culminated to various effects. These changes have direct impacts on the healthcare industry especially concerning the workforce and patients. It is projected that by 2050, the term ‘minority’ - apparently - will have a completely new meaning. The American Census Bureau predicts that by mid-century, the non-Hispanic white population will be below 50% of the total population (Borkowski, 2011).

America’s changing demographics affects the healthcare in two ways. Firstly, healthcare professionals require cultural competence in order to provide efficient and effective health services especially to an assorted patient population. Secondly, due to the changing demographics, it is important that the health care industry reflects the patient population that it serves, both managerially and clinically. Healthcare organizations should develop practices and policies designed to recruit, retain and manage a different workforce to provide better access to healthcare for ethnic and racial minorities. Cultural competence will enable physicians to communicate with patients regardless of their backgrounds.

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Due to the progressively more diverse population in the U.S., healthcare professionals should pay attention to cultural competence (Borkowski, 2011). This goes beyond cultural sensitivity or awareness. Though official cultural training is said to enhance cultural competence amongst healthcare practitioners, only a measly 8% of American medical schools have formal courses relating to cultural issues. However, the healthcare industry has begun helping healthcare practitioners to develop cultural competences in handling diverse patients.