DOI: 10.1177/10784535231216464 ISSN: 1078-4535

Overcoming Marginalization by Creating a Sense of Belonging

Brigit M. Carter, Danica Fulbright Sumpter, Wanda Thruston
  • General Nursing

Marginalization encompasses structural, interpersonal, and intergroup dynamics that perpetuate inequality and exclusion. This manuscript advocates that the solution to marginalization lies in fostering a sense of belonging. Belonging is a fundamental human need, critical for mental well-being, academic success, and personal growth. It significantly impacts engagement, retention, and overall development, especially in health professional education settings like nursing schools. When individuals feel they belong, they are more likely to seek support, engage actively in learning, and perform better academically. However, achieving a sense of belonging is not straightforward, and many challenges at both individual and institutional levels hinder its realization. Individual challenges include resistance to change, implicit biases, and lack of awareness of the disparities caused by marginalization. Institutional challenges include insufficient commitment, inadequate resource allocation, and lack of representation from marginalized groups. In the United States, recent legislation obstructing initiatives toward diversity, equity, and inclusion poses additional obstacles. To overcome these challenges and promote belonging, this manuscript offers strategies that highlight the importance of aligning institutional values with policies and practices, recognizing and rewarding inclusive efforts, and actively seeking diverse perspectives.

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