Nursing is one of the fastest growing U.S. occupations. RNs are critical to staffing the health care system.

The need for health care, however, is still exceeding supply. If the shortfall continues in its current pattern, projections expect nursing shortage statistics from past decades to more than double.

Minority representation in the nursing workforce

Registered nurses form the largest group of health care workers in the United States. They number nearly 3,000,000, but the percentage of minority nurses represent fewer than 25 percent while those who identify as white represent around 75 percent, placing them in the majority.

Minority nurses often face social exclusion, financial barriers, insufficient academic advisement as well as a lack of mentoring and emotional support. They put pressure on themselves to work harder and achieve more to overcome their perceived lack of equity. They receive their licenses with deserved pride in their accomplishments.

License protection for minorities in the workplace 

The following strategies can help new minority nurses strengthen their professional standing and feel confident that they can retain their licenses.

  • Minority nurses should fully expect that prejudice exists in nursing. A patient may ask for a nonminority nurse, or a colleague may engage in subtle racial bias.
  • New minority nurses should thoroughly learn protocols and expectations. They should understand their responsibilities and not expect colleagues to help.
  • It is a good idea for minority nurses to behave at all times as if someone is watching them.
  • Minority nurses can work daily on communication and charting skills. They can practice quickly summarizing their patients’ progress for shift changes.
  • It is critical for new minority nurses not to gossip or discuss confidential information with anyone. 

Each day presents an opportunity for minority nurses to learn new skills, treat staff and patients with professional dignity and earn respect from supervisors and co-workers.

A minority nurse can successfully face a license threat

Whether a minority nurse is experiencing discrimination or events occurred beyond his or her control, it is important to know that excellent avenues exist to get help to sort out a distressing situation. All nurses were new at one time, and minority nurses are not alone in the possibility of facing license issues at some point in their career.