Scholarship looks to boost number of minority registered nurses

In an effort to increase the amount of black, Latino and other minority registered nurses, the American Heart Association (AHA) and Macy's will give out 16 scholarships a year for the next three years to boost the number of diverse healthcare workers, the North Dallas Gazette reported.

Black nurses make up 5.4 percent of 2.5 million registered nurses nationwide, while Latino nurses make up just 3.6 percent. Industry workers said hiring more minority nurses would allow minority patients to feel more at ease and make them more likely to seek help when they experience health problems, according to the article.

The AHA's Go Red Multicultural Scholarship campaign will award 16 $2,500 scholarships each year to help combat tuition hikes and cuts to graduate medical education funding, according to the article. The campaign is also meant to raise awareness and create a long-term impact by bolstering diversity in the next generation of healthcare workers in a multicultural population.

"The numbers speak for themselves," said Eva Gomez, a registered nurse and scholarship judge for the AHA's "Go Red for Women" campaign. "As the demographics change and more ethnically and racially diverse populations grow, there will definitely continue to be a need for healthcare providers who mirror these patients."

Hospitals can also diversify their nursing workforce by hiring more male nurses. "It's important that nursing diversification mirror what is happening in our population. Men provide unique perspectives and skills that are important to the profession and reflect the quality of care delivered," said Christopher Kowal, R.N., adjunct professor of nursing at American Sentinel University, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Women and minorities remain underrepresented in medicine in general, more specifically, in radiology, according to FierceMedicalImaging. While women make up 50.8 percent of the U.S. population, they are underrepresented as practicing physicians (23.5 percent), academic faculty (26.1 percent) and diagnostic radiology residents (27.8 percent). Underrepresented minorities account for about 30 percent of the U.S. population, but they make up just 6.5 percent of practicing physicians, 5.9 percent of academic faculty and 8.3 percent of radiology residents.

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