Thursday, July 31, 2008

Minority status as viewed by a nurse


One out of eight women in the USA is a nurse. This includes me. Techinically I fall under the moniker of 'advanced practice nurse', but this is not revelant for now. My current job is in the community. I meet with people in their houses to address their health care needs. To qualify for this type of service, they need to be under some sort of government assistance. As such, they need to be poor. Thus, my patients are mostly minorities.


At the risk of stereotyping, I must say I enjoy the Asian Americans the most. They are very thankful for my visits. They offer tea. They offer cookies. They smile and are very polite. Their houses and persons are clean. They have an acute awareness of the mind body connection. That is to say, what they feel in terms of illness is linked to things unseen. Spirits, old age, ancestors miling about. And what they see as wellness is not always delivered by medications. In fact, they often do not take medications, even when prescribed. This is not a novel concept, lots of patients do not take their meds for various reasons. But the Asian Americans view meds as a foriegn concept.


Which is a complete 180 from the majority of Americans out there. I cannot count the number of young (20-45) year old patients on multiple medications. What I mean by multiple medications is twelve or more. That is not to say that all medications are bad, and the medication regime doesn't make sense for that patient. But fuck. When did we, as prescribers, start to lose our minds?


Wait, I lost my train of thought.

I also enjoy the Hispanic Americans. They also are thankful for my visits. They keep a clean house and person. It is nice to be appreciated. And welcomed. It cuts down on 85 % of the work for me. That it is to say I usually have to spend a large amount of time breaking down barriers. And this is understandable. I am a white woman coming into a ethnic enclave. I am part of a system that is not providing what they expect. I am asking all sort of personal and private questions. Questions they have answered before and yet nothing changes. They still are sick, even with the twelve pills.


I have been a nurse long enough to know that I am not responsible for taking on thier illness and letting them live and breathe inside me. I cannot be in the trenches because I am the provider. I lead them if they are willing. I sit beside them if they are not.


It is a balance I have achieved to avoid the burnout that affects most health care workers out there. This is my life, being a nurse. As much as being Mrs. Hall. It is a long term commitment which I hold dear. And I am not going any where.

3 Left a message at the beep:

Steph said...

I just found your blog last night and am enjoying reading your posts, especially this one. Tells me a lot about you! Brava!

Consider yourself blogrolled.

Mrs. Hall said...

Thank you for enjoying your stay here at La Blog de Senora Hall.

Take your shoes off and stay as long as you would like.

Would like a beverage?

:)

Mrs. Hall

GeologyJoe said...

good stories. it sure takes a special person to be able to do all that stuff.

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