Recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce in nursing: from evidence to best practices to policy

Policy Polit Nurs Pract. 2010 Nov;11(4):294-301. doi: 10.1177/1527154411398491.


Health policy makers, providers, clinicians, and social scientists are among those who have identified racial and ethnic diversification of the health care workforce as one strategy for solving the seemingly intractable problem of health disparities in the U.S. population. But evidence supporting the impact of such diversification on narrowing health disparities is lacking, thus making it unclear if the push for workforce diversification is empirically or politically driven. Moreover, data are largely derived from the study of physicians, making it difficult to generalize findings to nursing and other health professions. This article reviews the evidence that supports the impact of a diverse workforce on patient outcomes and delivery services. Assuming a positive social value in the absence of the data, the authors review the approaches that have been successful in diversifying the nursing workforce. The authors conclude with recommendations for research and policies, including best practices, for enhancing recruitment and retention of a diverse nursing workforce.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Health Policy
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Staff / supply & distribution*
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Policy Making
  • Quality Control
  • United States
  • Workload