The University of Arizona has launched a new program focused on diversifying Arizona’s nursing workforce. The new program, the Arizona Nursing Inclusive Excellence (ANIE) scholars project, is designed to improve diversity in Arizona’s nursing workforce to help better patients’ healthcare experiences.

Diversity is lacking in a variety of occupations across the country, especially healthcare. In Arizona, 61 percent of the nursing workforce in 2017 was made up of white nurses according to Arizona State University’s Center for Health Information and Research.

Studies show patients are more likely to trust their caretaker when they feel they understand them and where they come from. A more diverse nursing workforce can also reduce communication barriers that can lead to serious errors.

With $1.9 million in funding, the new program is designed to support students from underrepresented backgrounds, specifically Native American students, Hispanic students, students from rural areas, and first-generation college students. With the nation’s third largest population of Native Americans and a Hispanic population of nearly 31 percent, Arizona is well suited to implement the ANIE program.

In addition to academic support, the ANIE program is connecting students with mentors from similar backgrounds. Just like patients like to see themselves in their nurses, students like to see themselves reflected in their professors and advisers.

The ANIE program is projected to support 158 students over a span of four years, helping Arizona work toward a more diverse nursing workforce. To learn more about the program initiatives, visit here.

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