Date of Submission

Fall 12-23-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Dr. KT Waxman

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Lynne Knighten


Aim. The purpose of this manuscript is to synthesize the literature on the paucity of African Americans in nursing leadership, the importance of inclusion, and the barriers to advancement.

Background. The nursing workforce does not reflect the population served. Minorities remain underrepresented in nursing and nursing leadership despite efforts to close the diversity gap.

Evaluation. The literature reviewed examined the lack of diversity in nursing and nursing leadership, perceived barriers to career advancement, and current efforts to diversify nursing leadership. Nine peer-reviewed, critically appraised studies are included.

Key Issues. Ensuring the nursing workforce represents the patient population served can reduce healthcare disparities. Minority nurse leaders are positioned to lead change in patient care and workforce issues by leveraging their presence and experience. The lack of leadership development programs hinders minority nurse advancement.

Conclusions. Minority representation in leadership positions is needed to better reflect the staff and patient population served, contributing to better patient outcomes, increased employee satisfaction, and inspiring nurses who would like to pursue leadership opportunities.

Implications for Nursing Leadership. Any long-term solution to achieving diversity in the health professions is dependent on diversity in leadership itself. It is incumbent on the nursing profession to lead the change to a diverse nursing workforce .

Included in

Nursing Commons