Workforce Diversity and Leadership in Healthcare Settings

Workforce Diversity and Leadership in Healthcare Settings




















Workforce Diversity and Leadership in Healthcare Settings

Cultural competence is a process focused on addressing the racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare settings. Racial and ethnic disparities among people is linked to poor health outcomes and lower quality of care. Healthcare institutions are striving to offer quality care to patients as well as containing the costs (Anderson, 2003).The main focus of these organizations is developing a healthcare system that offers cultural competence, workforce diversity and cultural effectiveness. Human Resource Managersneed to manage diversity in the firm through emphasizing business maximization and increasing productivity. Cultural effectiveness in the organization can be achieved through workforce diversity and inclusion, cultural competence and effective leadership strategies.

The use of leadership and management practices that facilitate cultural competence improves employee and patient satisfaction, the quality of clinical care and patient health outcomes(Lichtenstein, 2005). Enhancing cultural competence and workplace diversity improves the bottom-line of services offered leading to patient-satisfaction based performance incentives in the firm. Besides, workplace diversity and cultural competence leads to increased employee retention and reduced re-admissions due to improved communication between the healthcare workers and patients. Cultural competence and diversity also improves patient’s adherence to treatment, increased patient satisfaction and operating efficiency. As such, workforce diversity and cultural competence plays an important role in the improvement of organizational financial results and enhancing services for a diverse society(Weech-Maldonado, 2012).

Various groups such as women, minority and immigrants and the disabled reflect diversity in the healthcare system. Diversity in the system includes people with different characteristics, beliefs and perceptions. A culturally competent healthcare system focusses on involving culturally diverse employees that reflect the communities served and training the healthcare providers on the values of the people they serve (Anderson, 2003). Human resource managers need to enhance diversity among the employees which ensures that patients are offered the best care. Some of the skills necessary for managing diversity in the workplace include tolerance, understanding, acceptance, self-awareness, openness to change and willingness to challenge organizations that do not support diversity.

Dauvrin& Vincent (2015) stated that despite the fact that healthcare systems vary among different countries, migrants and minorities are at the risk of experiencing poor health outcomes as compared to the other people in the population. Poor health outcomes are associated with the development of acute health conditions such as tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections, diabetes and mental health conditions such as anxiety and psychosis. Besides, minority groups and ethnic groups have lower access to health facilities. As such, leaders need to offer a culturally competent healthcare system that cares for the minority patients to help reduce the health inequalities(Ratnapalan& Elizabeth, 2014).

A leader facilitated the development of a culturally competent healthcare system that incorporates all the cultural levels, assesses the cross-cultural relations, focusses on the expansion of cultural knowledge, is vigilant towards the dynamics resulting from cultural differences and is adapted to services that aim at meeting the culturally unique needs among people (Dauvrin& Vincent, 2015). Besides, a culturally competent system enhances the interaction of health beliefs and behaviors, disease prevalence and incidence and treatment outcomes for different populations in the society. Cultural competence also involves offering training programs for healthcare professionals within the firm. Training programs focus on enhancing the need for the various values needed in healthcare such as kindness, empathy and openness to wards immigrants and minorities.

Leadership is crucial for strategic management, planning, coordination, directing employees and representing the mission, vision and values of the company (Ratnapalan& Elizabeth, 2014). It is based on succession planning which is focused on developing the competent employees within the organization to take up the leadership positions of the incumbents when they leave the organization. This ensures that there will not occur a power vacuum when the people in administration positions cannot work for the firm anymore. Leadership in healthcare affects patient outcomes since it defines the services that will be offered to the patients by the employees. Leadership development within the firm is conducted by the manager (who distributes resources within the firm) and the leader exercises control and authority and also inspires employees towards meeting the common goals within the firm(Weech-Maldonado, 2012).












Anderson, L. M., Susan, C. S., Mindy, T. F., Jonathan, E. F. and Jacques, N. (2003). Culturally Competent Healthcare Systems: A Systemic Review. Am J. Prev Med. 24(3): 68- 79.

Dauvrin, M. and Vincent, L. (2015). Leadership and Cultural Competence of Healthcare Professionals: A Social Network Analysis. Nursing Research. 64(3): 200- 210.

Lichtenstein, R. (2005). Promoting Diversity in Health Management: The University of Michigan Experience. The Journal of Health Administration Education. 23(3): 252- 282.

Ratnapalan, S. and Elizabeth, U. (2014). Organizational Learning in Healthcare Organizations. Systems. 2: 24- 33.

Weech-Maldonado, R., Marc, E., Rohit, P., Cameron, S., Janice, D. and Ron, D. H. (2012). Moving Towards Culturally Competent Health Systems: Organizational and Market Factors. SocSci Med. 75(5): 815- 822.

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