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Gender Diversity in the Nursing Workplace

This research examines gender diversity in the nursing workplace. The plan of the research will be to set forth the context in which diversity has arisen as a salient feature of the nursing profession and principles of nursing practice that are relevant to the issue, and then to discuss ways in which diversity of the nursing work force--in particular gender diversity--has an impact on the substance and form of nursing practice, with a view toward forecasting possible lines of professional development.

At a time when patient access to institutional health care may be limited by the protocols of managed care, adherence to physicians' instructions, which are often mediated by nurses, are essential. Yet according to the American Nurses Foundation, minorities account for more than 27% of the American minority patient population, even though minority nurses account for only about 10% of the 2.65 million RNs in the US. Further, patient compliance with health treatment plans tends to vary directly with cultural affinity between patients and nurses (Nurse Force, 1999). Typically, of course, minority populations are denominated in terms of culture and race. However, the fact that male nurses comprise only 6% of the entire nursing work force in the US (Hilton, 2001; Hess, 2001) is instructive in terms of patient compliance if it is assumed what is perfectly possible, that the male-female ratio of patients in the American health-care system is roughly 50-50.

The professional literature is dotted with a variety of articles that discuss in one form or another the gender gap in modern American nursing (Poliafico, 1998). Before the pioneering work of Florence Nightingale in England and the Crimea the mid-19th century, nursing was exclusively a male profession, and in the US male nurses were far more common in Civil War battlefield venues than females were. In 1860 Clara Barton had to seek special permission to distribute medical supplies and nur...

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Gender Diversity in the Nursing Workplace. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 06:08, October 01, 2014, from