Nursing diversity improves ... but slowly

Though nursing's ranks are becoming more diverse, there's still much work to be done to make it reflective of the U.S. population.

That's according to an update on “The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action,” an effort by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and AARP to recruit and retain a workforce with greater racial, ethnic, and gender diversity. 

The article in the May issue of the American Journal of Nursing — complete with local and national success stories — was authored by Antonia Villarruel, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, professor and dean of nursing for the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

“Everyone has a role to play in advancing reforms that will diversify the nursing workforce,” wrote Villarruel, co-chairwoman of the campaign's diversity steering committee. 

The proportion of non-white nurses has increased to nearly 20%, and more than 10% were men in 2013. But half of Americans will be minorities by 2043. Industry experts say the profession needs to remove barriers to nursing careers before then.

Villarruel calls on colleges to recruit more minority and male nursing students and to encourage advanced nursing degrees.