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RWJF: Latino nurses needed, recruitment efforts challenging

A Sept. 12 article on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website details challenges to recruiting more Latinos into the nursing profession.

“Advocates Work to Recruit Latinos to Nursing,” discusses how in 2013, Latinos comprised 3% of the nation’s nursing workforce, according to a survey by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and the National Forum of State Workforce Centers, and 17% of the nation’s population, according to a U.S. Census Bureau fact sheet. “Recruiting more Latino nurses is about more than parity in the nursing workforce; it’s about improving health and healthcare for Latinos, who have disproportionately high rates of HIV transmission, teen pregnancy, and chronic conditions like obesity and diabetes…” according to the article. “Latinos also are less likely to have healthcare coverage than other racial or ethnic groups.”

An increase in the number of Latino nurses can decrease disparties because they are more likely to be able to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate care to Latino patients. “Having a culturally competent nurse really makes a difference in terms of compliance and patient outcomes,” Elias Provencio-Vasquez, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAANP, dean of the nursing school at the University of Texas at El Paso and an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows program, said in the article. “Patients really respond when they have a provider who understands their culture.”

The 2010 Institute of Medicine Future of Nursing report included a call for greater diversity within the nursing profession, but educational barriers, a lack of Latino mentors, language, cultural roles and even racism can stand in the way. “Many Latinos come from poor educational systems, and few concentrate on the kinds of science and math courses that are needed to enter nursing school,” Dan Suarez, MA, BSN, RN, president of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses and associate director of sales for’s New York region, said in the article. “Latinos have the highest high school dropout rate in the nation, and many students are just focused on staying in school and making it to graduation.”

According to Suarez, Latino youth are discouraged from pursuing nursing because it is regarded as a low-status, low-pay service job in Mexico and parts of Latin America. “Parents tell their children they can do better than nursing … Nursing has an image problem, and we’re trying to change that,” he said in the article.

Meanwhile traditional gender roles discourage Latinas from working outside the home. “The majority of Latina nurses go into associate degree programs and don’t see the need to go back for more education,” Mary Lou de Leon Siantz, PhD, RN, FAAN, a professor at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis and an RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program alumna, said in the article.

RWJF aims to increase diversity in nursing through programs such as New Careers in Nursing, and the RWJF Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative at the University of New Mexico, which prepares nurses, especially those from underserved populations in the Southwest, to become distinguished leaders in health policy, according to the article. Also, NAHN offers scholarships to Latino nursing students.

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By | 2014-09-22T00:00:00-04:00 September 22nd, 2014|Categories: National|0 Comments

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