AWHONN Position Statement: Nursing Workforce Diversity

Nursing Workforce Diversity


Diversification of the health care workforce aligns with the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) strategic goals. In the 21st century, research supports the continuous efforts to attract, develop, and foster a diverse workforce. AWHONN maintains that developing a diverse nursing workforce is an essential component to attracting the largest possible pool of talent and achieving health equity for childbearing people, newborns, and individuals throughout their life span by increasing concordance in patient–nurse relationships. AWHONN opposes discrimination in the nursing workforce based on ability, age, generation, ethnicity, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, and sexual orientation. AWHONN acknowledges that as our knowledge of diversity continues to evolve, so will our definition of workforce diversity.


The U.S. maternal mortality rates remain high. Adverse birth outcomes for Black women remain disproportionately high, with a rate that is 3 to 7 times that of White women (Howell, 2018Hoyert, 2022). This disparity is second to women in the American Indian/Alaska Native community. Additionally, the disparate care provided in the care of Black and American Indian/Alaska Native individuals and other people of color (BIPOC) is well documented (Martino et al., 2022).

According to the Institute of Medicine, the demographic characteristics of the nursing workforce should more closely match the population at large to enhance interactions and communication (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine [National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2016). Therefore, an increase in the diverse nursing workforce is an essential component to achieving concordance in patient–nurse relationships (Hoyert, 2022).