1. Pullen, Richard L. Jr. EdD, MSN, RN, CMSRN, CNE-cl, ANEF

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Q: What are diversity and inclusion?

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A: Diversity is a global term that differentiates populations, groups, and individuals.1,2 Diversity in the clinical practice and academic settings enables us to celebrate the rich dimensions that each person brings to the nursing profession and provide holistic person-centered care.1 Diversity in nursing may encompass, but isn't limited to, race, ethnicity, religion and faith, age, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, veterans, men in nursing, people with cognitive and physical disabilities, refugees and immigrants, and socioeconomic status.1


Inclusion is an intentional process where organizations embrace differences, not just tolerate them, and where people feel respected, valued, and empowered.1,2 Inclusion means that people have a sense of belonging and purpose.2 Organizations flourish when there's a systemwide energy of inclusion.2


Diversity and inclusion (DI) entails showing mutual respect and treating each other in an equitable manner.1,2 A mission statement and policy about DI should be created and included in an organization's processes and within the teaching and learning activities in an academic setting.3 Here are selected strategies that can be used to ensure DI in your nursing practice.1,2,4


* Recognize that everyone has an unconscious bias about people. Acknowledging our own unconscious bias helps us learn about other people and grow as a person.


* Eliminate, cultural, ethnic, racial, and gender bias in written and verbal communication, email, job descriptions, and exams. Use inclusive and nonbiased language.


* Spend time with other people. Spending time with someone and listening to their stories tells the person you value them.


* Ensure that people with disabilities have the tools they need to be successful in an organization or school of nursing.


* Embrace DI emotionally and intellectually to ensure that it's reflected in all people in an organization.


* Create a sense of belonging in the organization and establish goals and benchmarks related to DI from a quality improvement perspective.


* Explore establishing workplace advocacy groups.


* Cultivate mentorship relationships. Mentorship programs may be developed within an organization and between organizations and prenursing students who haven't graduated from high school. Mentorship is an effective way to recruit students to the nursing profession and faculty to teach in a nursing program. For example, a focus may be placed on recruiting more minority individuals and men into the nursing profession, including being faculty members.


* Celebrate all races, cultures, ethnicities, and religions.


* Establish ongoing educational programs on DI. Include DI concepts in employee performance evaluations and as part of the teaching and learning experiences in schools of nursing.


* Develop an equitable process for promotion and career mobility regardless of gender identity.


* Deliberately include age in DI practices. Celebrate the talents of adults who bring lifelong learning to new experiences in an organization.


* Demonstrate an appreciation for veterans' service to the country and their knowledge, skills, and attitudes learned in the military.


* Toss aside imagery that LGBTQA+ relationships aren't normal.



I've been in nursing academia full time for 27 years. I've conducted many clinical rotations on busy hospital units with my students, and student evaluations occur on the last day of a rotation on the unit. At the end of one student's evaluation, the student said to me, "I learned a lot in this rotation. Thank you for being kind and treating everyone the same Dr. Pullen." The student's comment that I treat everyone the same is the highest compliment I've received from a student. Let's all strive for equity in our practice.




1. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Diversity, equity, and inclusion in academic nursing. 2017. [Context Link]


2. Woods A, Tharakan S. Hiring for Diversity: The Guide to Building an Inclusive and Equitable Organization. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons; 2021. [Context Link]


3. Pitts C, Hudson T, Reeves G, Christenbery T, Johnson R. Writing a diversity and inclusivity statement: guidelines for nursing programs and faculty. Nurse Educ. 2020;45(4):198-201. [Context Link]


4. Brown J. How to Be an Inclusive Leader: Your Role in Creating Cultures of Belonging Where Everyone Can Thrive. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 2019. [Context Link]