Advancing Diversity in Nursing Education: A Groundwater Approach

Teri A. Murray, Joanne Noone

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Scopus citations


    There have been increased calls for a diverse nursing workforce to resolve health inequities. While the diversity of the nursing workforce slowly improves, it lags in comparison to the diversity of the United States population. The lack of diversity in academic nursing is the root cause of the lack of a diverse nursing workforce. A groundwater approach, as developed by the Racial Equity Institute, is used to analyze systemic barriers in nursing education that hinder achieving student diversity. Using this approach, recommendations are offered to educators and regulatory organizations to change policies and practices. Inclusive educational policies and teaching practices should be adopted to recruit and retain diverse students and faculty. Nursing education accrediting bodies must implement standards requiring programs to adopt holistic admission reviews and measurable diversity outcomes for students, faculty, and staff. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing must establish a common national licensure passing standard that is based either on graduation date or upon the first attempt and includes multiple attempts within a given time frame. A groundwater approach requires a mindset shift to focus on the environment and changes in practice and policy to overcome the current structural barriers in nursing education if there is ever to be a diverse nursing workforce.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)140-148
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Professional Nursing
    StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


    • A groundwater approach
    • Accreditation and regulation
    • Diversity
    • Holistic admissions
    • Nursing education
    • Student retention

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Nursing(all)


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