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Student registered nurse Camille Endicio prepares Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination syringes as at a new, walk-up mobile COVID-19 clinic launched on April 20 to provide the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to underserved communities in Los Angeles. Photo: Al Seib/Los…

Diversity in Nursing: The Numbers

As the nation’s population grows more diverse, statistics are also showing a slight diversity increase in the critical nursing profession.

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Throughout the month of May, nursing institutions and healthcare professionals nationwide are celebrating National Nurses Month.

This is an expansion of National Nurses Day (celebrated on May 6) and National Nurses Week (celebrated from May 6 to May 12). 

Led by the American Nurses Association — which has supported and promoted the nursing profession since 1896 — the annual celebration in May serves the purpose of raising awareness of the important role that nurses play in society.

In the age of the pandemic, the importance of nurses in our society prompted the ANA and World Health Organization to designate both 2020 and 2021 as "The Year of the Nurse" to further recognize the nurses who continue to serve on the front lines. 

As the month progresses, it’s a perfect time to talk about an important aspect of the nursing profession: diversity. 

According to numerous studies and surveys, the numbers are showing an upward trend in various diversity-related categories within the profession. 

From gender and race to age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, nationality, education level, and more, the roughly 4 million nurses in the nursing profession across the U.S. are seeing incremental upticks in its diversity demographics.

According to a National Council of State Boards of Nursing survey, more than 9% of nurses in the U.S. are male. This is more than quadruple the percentage (2%) of male nurses documented in 1970.

The number of registered nurses of color has also seen an increase over the years. 

According to 2018 nursing statistics reported in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, the nursing population comprises of roughly:

  • 10.2% Hispanic or Latino nurses
  • 7.8% Black or African American nurses
  • 5.2% Asian nurses
  • 1.7% of nurses who identify as two or more races
  • 0.6% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander nurses
  • 0.3% American Indian or Alaskan Native nurses

The percentage of diverse nursing students of color in the nation has also seen an increase over the years.

An American Association of Colleges of Nurses' (AACN) report on the 2018-2019 Enrollment and Graduations in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing showed that nursing students from backgrounds of color represented 34.2% of students in entry-level baccalaureate programs, 34.7% of master’s students, 33% of students in research-focused doctoral programs, and 34.6% of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students.

While all these numbers show gradual improvement in the level of diversity within the nursing field, there is still much room left for improvement. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us in the past year, the demand for diverse nurses is more paramount than ever before. 

That need and demand for diverse nurses in the communities that shape this nation is what prompts AL DÍA to host its annual AL DÍA Top Nurses Forum & Awards event.

Not only does AL DÍA want to promote diversity within the profession, the goal is also to honor and celebrate some of the individual Hispanic nurses who are enriching that diversity within the region and have served the members of the community, particularly during this devastating pandemic. 

At the virtual event this year, a selection of nominees, as nominated by their peers and selected by the event's advisory board, will be honored as Top Nurses, and a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient will also be chosen.

The 2021 AL DÍA Top Nurses event will take place on Wednesday, May 26 starting at 5:30 p.m. Ticket and registration information can be found here.

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