The conversation about Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) within the workplace is growing louder and louder each day for a good reason. DEI brings together people, perspectives, and ideas to help create stronger bonds among individuals and stronger organizations. In healthcare, DEI efforts can also help to improve the lives of both those providing and receiving care.
What is DEI?
DEI is used to describe policies and programs that promote the representation and participation of different groups of individuals, including people of different ages, races and ethnicities, abilities and disabilities, genders, religions, cultures, and sexual orientations. For OAAPN, however, DEI goes a step further to include diversity within the APRN profession.
In a recent article, OAAPN’s Role: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Mandi Cafasso, DNP, APRN-CNP notes “[OAAPN] seeks to represent all APRNs in a unified voice, therefore we must understand the professional experience, training, skills, and specializations that exist within our APRN “umbrella” and beyond.”
The Elements of DEI
Incorporating the elements of DEI into your organization will ensure that you are creating a culture that will both attract and retain experienced staff while supporting your patients.
- Diversity – Diversity is about representation. Understanding the background of employees and patients being served, including culture, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and socioeconomic status. Also, hiring and retaining a workforce that is representative of the patient population served.
- Equity – Ensures healthcare workers have what they need to do their jobs and patients have what they need in and out of treatment settings to effectively benefit from best practices in treatment (not to be confused with equality).
- Inclusion – Gives employees and patients a voice to help provide and receive high-quality care and encourages the presence of diverse healthcare staff in the treatment experience of patients.
When these elements are combined you can create a place where everyone is welcome, supported, and has the resources they need to grow and thrive regardless of identity, origin, or difference in circumstances.
Why is DEI Important in Healthcare?
Improving DEI is becoming an increasingly important component of healthcare delivery. By understanding how DEI affects both employees and patients, healthcare organizations can improve workplace culture while providing better care. Ensuring DEI efforts are in place and effective will help healthcare organizations improve communication, increase patient satisfaction, and ultimately deliver higher-quality care.
DEI can also help to foster a workplace environment where your individual staff members feel a sense of belonging and that they are valued. This approach also empowers you to deliver inclusive, person-centered, culturally competent care, demonstrating to clients that you understand them as people.
Incorporating DEI Into the Work of OAAPN
As OAAPN as an organization becomes more intentional with incorporating DEI principles, we will be providing education to our leaders to ensure our plan is sustainable and adaptable to a rapidly changing healthcare landscape. Together we can accomplish great things for those in our communities and profession as we work towards better access to care for all Ohioans. If you are not already a member of OAAPN, we invite you to join us in this important work on behalf of our profession.