Mary Ellen Biggerstaff, DNP Letter
To My Fellow Nurses,
The recent election has left me thinking about my role as both a nurse and a primary practice provider in America today. In 1998, the American Nurse Association published their policy statement on discrimination and racism in health care, stating, “The ANA is committed to working towards egalitarianism and the promotion of justice in access and delivery of health care to all people”. I am so proud to be part of a profession where social justice is at the core of the work that we all do.
There is a special urgency to this foundation in providing healthcare to one of our most vulnerable groups, immigrants. No matter what setting you work in, there are steps that we can all take to help provide the highest quality of care for immigrants. Some of these include;
- Always use a professional medical interpreter when speaking with Limited English Proficiency Patients, so that they can be full partners in their healthcare
- Take the time to help them navigate and understand how the American Health Care system works
- Make sure to ask patients what is important to their health and their culture, being aware of your own biases
- Making our clinicals and hospitals safe spaces for immigrants by not tolerating any discriminatory language or practices
- Know what resources are available for our immigrant patients in Washington;
El Centro de La Raza http://www.elcentrodelaraza.org
Columbia Legal Services http://columbialegal.org
Northwest Justice Project https://nwjustice.org
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project https://www.nwirp.org
These are just a few ways that we can act, and work together towards ensuring that we are providing the highest level of care for everyone.
Mary Ellen Biggerstaff, DNP