Minority student experiences: barriers and bridges in nursing education.

One of the most crucial issues facing the nursing profession today is the underrepresentation of minority nurses as it contributes to the disparity in the delivery of health care. The nursing work force is not keeping up with the pace of changing demographics in the general population, resulting in lack of diversity in the nursing profession. Consequently, the current nursing workforce is unable to meet the increasing demand for ethnically, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and sensitive health care. There is a pressing need to close the gaps in attainment for underrepresented groups in nursing education. This can only be accomplished by increasing access, retention and graduation rates of minority students from nursing schools. This qualitative phenomenological study explored the perceptions of newly graduated African American, Latino, and Muslim nurses about the challenges as well as facilitators that they encountered during the course of their undergraduate nursing school at one Northern California nursing baccalaureate program. It also examined institutional resources, social capital (networks), cultural capital (beliefs, values, and skills), and habitus (aspirations) that were necessary for their successful completion of the nursing program.