Dr. Niitsu Addressed the Diversity of Nursing in the United States as a Keynote Speaker

Kosuke Niitsu

Kosuke “Ko” Niitsu, Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing & Health Studies at UW Bothell, served as a keynote speaker at the Japan Society of Nursing & Health Care Annual Conference on September 2nd, 2023.

In his speech, he addressed the diversity of nursing in the United States. He began his speech by reflecting on what it was like for him to be a “nontraditional” nursing student in the United States and what it is like to be now a “faculty of color” in nursing in the United States. He discussed the negative effects influenced by the lack of diversity in the nursing workforce, such as stress and isolation among BIPOC and male nurses and health disparity in the general public, as well as the benefits of having diverse team members. He concluded his keynote speech by suggesting how we may be able to promote diversity in nursing at the individual (e.g. being aware of our own implicit bias) and the system levels (e.g. Center for Anti-Racism & Equity in Nursing at the University of Washington). He delivered his keynote speech in the Japanese language so that the audience could understand the content better.

“Serving as a keynote speaker to address the diversity of nursing has given me an opportunity to reflect on my own experience to be a minority nurse in the United States and helped me realize my additional responsibilities”, Niitsu said. “Statistically speaking, nursing is one of the least diversified professionals in terms of race/ethnicity and gender in both Japan and the United States. Somebody like me who is a BIPOC and male nurse needs to speak up and raise awareness about diversity so that we can promote better well-being and health in both nurses and the general public.”