Why DEIB matters in healthcare – and how to implement it successfully within a temporary workforce
As our world becomes more diverse and culturally aware, internal diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) programs are more relevant and valuable than ever before.
It can be particularly difficult for healthcare systems and facilities that rely on temporary staff to implement sustainable DEIB practices. Like how organizations with low employee retention can struggle to build and maintain strong company cultures, many healthcare systems face the challenge of ensuring their DEIB standards are carried through with their short-term and nonpermanent workforce.
Because these clinicians’ time with a facility is limited, they might struggle to absorb the facility’s culture or not receive sufficient opportunities for training and education. That’s why it’s so important for DEIB to be introduced as early as possible and consistently reinforced throughout the clinician’s journey. Consistency and accountability are essential for overcoming these challenges.
What is DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging) in healthcare?
In the field of healthcare specifically, DEIB is critical for understanding and relating to patients, coworkers, and other healthcare professionals who must work together in the delivery of care. This sense of empathy can even help enhance the quality of care clinicians provide for their patients, potentially resulting in improved outcomes.
But before we get too far into the benefits of DEIB, let’s take a closer look at what exactly DEIB is.
Typically, the first thing people think about when they hear “DEI” is gender and race, but in actuality, DEIB encompasses much more. From sexuality and religion to veteran status and political affiliation, many lived experiences contribute to the unique perspectives DEIB aims to amplify.
In practice, organizations can work to achieve this by building teams with individuals from varied backgrounds and educating employees about the importance of diverse representation. At the end of the day, facilities should strive to be a reflection of the people they serve. This can generate greater trust and understanding between clinicians and patient populations.
Equity is about looking at the entire person and their experiences and ensuring the necessary resources are available to them. The goal is to provide an even playing field for all employees to thrive. This can help foster diverse perspectives throughout all levels of an organization by creating equal opportunities for success, development, and advancement.
An example of equity in action would be to provide both temporary and permanent employees with the same educational materials and opportunities to learn about DEIB. Or, it could be delivering the same level of coaching and feedback to clinicians, regardless of their employment status.
Inclusion is about being aware of and sensitive to everyone’s experiences. Further, it entails understanding that just as much time and energy needs to be spent with the majority and minority groups within an organization. This comprehensive view of an organization’s workforce is critical for building an inclusive culture that engenders a sense of belonging in everyone, regardless of their differences.
For temporary employees, this could be encouraging them to participate in DEIB initiatives so that others can be exposed to their unique perspectives. It could also be creating social events that include both temporary and permanent staff members – anything that helps bring people from different backgrounds together.
Lastly, belonging is a reflection of the overall workplace experience and how individuals feel as employees. For example, do employees feel like they’re able to bring their entire, authentic selves to work? Do they feel respected and heard? Do they feel like they’re given every opportunity to thrive in their positions? If the answer is “yes” to all those questions, then that means employees likely feel secure, supported, and accepted – like they belong.
How can DEIB initiatives help healthcare facilities?
In healthcare settings, clinicians care for a diverse population of patients, so it’s important to understand that a patient’s lived experiences may be different from their own — and that those differences are to be respected and supported.
In that context, DEIB appears in the direct relationship between the clinician and the patient. The better clinicians understand their patients, the better those clinicians can empathize and communicate with them, enabling them to establish greater trust and stronger rapports. Some of this can be attained through education, but increasing representation of diverse groups within the workforce is also key to improving understanding.
The enhanced cultural sensitivity driven by this understanding can positively impact bedside manner and the patient’s experience within the facility. As a result, organizations can increase patient confidence in staff, cultivate an inclusive and culturally competent workspace, and, most importantly, improve patient outcomes.
Again, the key to creating a healthcare environment that prioritizes DEIB is to introduce concepts as early as possible in the onboarding process, consistently reinforce their importance, and encourage the adoption of those principles through diligent accountability. Recognize and praise individuals when they’re exhibiting the values you want to see and call attention to instances where those values are lacking or could be improved.
From a staffing perspective, Matchwell can help support your facility’s DEIB goals and initiatives by connecting you with a diverse pool of healthcare talent that offers unmatched flexibility for both partners and clinicians. Additionally, Matchwell’s direct access to local clinicians with a variety of specialties can minimize your reliance on national staffing agencies and travelers, giving you greater control over your workforce and significant cost savings.
Matchwell, now part of the Medical Solutions healthcare talent ecosystem, is an agency alternative that matches clinicians with top healthcare facilities looking for local and per diem talent. Start a conversation today!