AAMN Supports RWJF's Mission to Diversify the Nursing Profession
By Brent MacWilliams, PhD, ANP, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Member of the Board of Directors, American Assembly for Men in Nursing
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) values diversity and inclusion, which includes historically underrepresented populations like men. The population of the United States is becoming more diverse, and the best way to increase cultural competence in the health care system is to increase the diversity of health care providers.
Medicine, pharmacy and other allied professions have increased gender diversity to near equitable levels. Nearly half—or 48 percent—of 2010 medical school graduates were women, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Yet men account for less than 10 percent of the nursing profession.
It is time for nursing to recalibrate to meet the needs of a 21st century health care workforce through sustainable metrics. RWJF and the American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) share a vision for measurable change to take place in the nursing workforce through cultural change, greater diversity in health care leadership and evidence-based change.
AAMN supports RWJF’s efforts to increase the number of diverse nursing scholars because they will bring a diverse perspective and research agenda to the profession. AAMN encourages researchers to investigate: 1) ways to increase the number of middle and high school students who are male and who plan to become nurses, 2) methods to retain men who are enrolled in nursing schools, and 3) outcome measures to create sustainable change in the workforce mix.
Achieving inclusive excellence in nursing requires uncovering inequities, identifying ways to create a diverse workforce pipeline, and developing practices that create sustained cultural change.
A century and a half ago, Florence Nightingale found that opening windows and letting in fresh air was a “best practice” in health care; greater diversity offers a breath of fresh air for the nursing profession in the 21st century.