exist among specific population groups based H e a l t h M e d i c a l

exist among specific population groups based H e a l t h M e d i c a l

Getting Started

As nurses, we care for patients of all nationalities regardless of socioeconomic status. We do not often think about whether all populations are receiving equal levels of care. We care for all patients the same regardless of their race or socioeconomic background, so we tend to be unaware of any disparity in care. In reality, research has shown that race and ethnicity do affect the quality of care that people receive. You will learn more about these disparities as you complete this assignment. Consider how you, as a nurse, can advocate for social justice.

Upon successful completion of this discussion, you will be able to:

  • Discuss populations at risk for healthcare disparities.
  • Discuss challenges to providing care to people with sociocultural backgrounds that differ from your own.
  • Explore the relationship between social determinants and health disparity in your community.
  • Identify biblical principles relating to how nurses should care for minority patients, or those in poverty, or other marginalized populations.


Background Information

It has been said that “Life is not fair,” but should life be “more fair” than it is— particularly when it comes to healthcare and population health? Sidorov and Romney (2011) define healthcare disparities as “differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of diseases…that exist among specific population groups based on socioeconomic status, education, age, race and ethnicity, geography, disability, sexual orientation, or special needs” (p. 12). According to Dilworth-Anderson, Pierre, and Hilliard (2012), “differences in the treatment provided to members of different racial or ethnic groups that are not justified by the underlying health conditions or treatment preferences of the patients” contribute to health disparities (p. 26).

In addition to racial factors, socioeconomic factors such as an increased access to unhealthy food, tobacco, and alcohol, poverty, inadequate education, a lack of health insurance, segregation, decreased access to recreational facilities, and decreased access to healthcare, age, and minority status contribute to health disparities. Disparities can also occur due to mistrust of healthcare providers by members of various minority groups. The intermingling of socioeconomic factors and discrimination, biases, and mistrust has made it more difficult to focus on the best solutions to issues of healthcare disparity.

Healthcare disparities are very prevalent in our society today and need to be addressed for the sake of individuals as well as for the sake of the population as a whole. The comprehensive knowledge base of nurses make them an important piece of the puzzle for addressing healthcare disparities. Without the elimination of healthcare disparities, we will never experience “an epidemic of health and wellness” as a nation (Pracilio, Reifsnyder, Nash & Fabius, 2011, p. xxxvi).


Dilworth-Anderson, P., Pierre, G., & Hilliard, T. S. (2012). Social justice, health disparities, and culture in the care of the elderly. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 40(1), 26-32. doi:10.1111/j.1748-720X.2012.00642.x

Pracilio, V. P., Reifsnyder, J., Nash, D. B., & Fabius, R. J. (2011). The population health mandate. In D. B. Nash, J. Reifsnyder, R. J. Fabius, & V. P. Pracilio (Eds.). Population health: Creating a culture of wellness (pp. xxxv-liii). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Sidorov, J., & Romney, M. (2011). The spectrum of care. In D. B. Nash, J. Reifsnyder, R. J. Fabius, & V. P. Pracilio (Eds.). Population health: Creating a culture of wellness (pp. 3-21). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.


  1. Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
  2. In your textbook, Professional Nursing: Concepts and Challenges, review Chapter 14, “Health Care in the United States” including the Considering Culture Box related to health disparities on page 321.
  3. Review the Resources for Workshop 5: Sociocultural Considerations and Health Disparities. You can access the articles by going to the OCLS site and selecting Nursing Journals. The full text of this article is available on CINAHL.
    1. The quickest way to access an article from CINAHL when you know the exact title (listed under course resources) is to copy the title and paste the title of the article into the search bar.
    2. Select Title and click Search. You will generally end up with one result—the article you are looking for.
  4. Visit the following websites to learn more about sociocultural challenges and healthcare disparities:
    1. Minority Health & Health Equity at CDC at http://
    2. Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) at https://
  5. Search OCLS and the Internet for information on health disparities and sociocultural aspects of nursing care.
  6. Prepare to discuss the following prompts:
    1. Include your thoughts about how nurses can respond to these challenges to provide quality care to those who often face healthcare disparity.
    2. Share an example of a situation from your nursing practice that either has resulted in a healthcare disparity based on sociocultural concerns or a concern you have noted that could result in deficient care for minorities or those in poverty or other marginalized groups. Psychiatric patients, patients with dementia, and the elderly are a few examples of marginalized groups.
    3. Look up information on morbidity and mortality within your community. Discuss the populations at risk for healthcare disparities.
    4. Discuss healthcare disparities faced by your vulnerable population. Identify a biblical principle relating to how nurses should care for members of minorities, those in poverty, or other marginalized populations.
    5. Share your thoughts with regard to ways that nurses could respond to improve the care for these groups.
  7. Find at least two current scholarly sources to support your explanations and insights.

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