identities

I Spent A Good Portion Of My Childhood Under The Care Of Nurses And The Ones Who Were Latina Were The Most Impactful

Latino nurses are slowly rising in the medical field but out of the 2.8 million registered nurses in the United States, only 4.8% of them are of Latin American descent. Nurses have one of the most difficult jobs to do and often deal with a lot of challenging and stressful situations working in the medical field. BIPOC and Latina/x nurses are also no stranger to the racism and microaggressions projected onto them from patients. But with all of those struggles, many nurses find a way to get to know their patients on a personal level. Nurses will often treat the same patient for a few days and a kind bond with them is vital, especially if that patient is a disabled child. That strong bond that is based on mutual trust makes recovery a lot smoother and faster for everyone involved.

Growing up with Spina Bifida I saw first hand the lack of diversity in the number of nurses that made up the medical field in the ’90s. Looking back I’m also easily able to identify how this affected my care.

Courtesy of Andrea Lausell

The few Latina nurses I did have during my stays, made the experience a million times better. Not only were these nurses quick and efficient at their job, but they also were able to connect with me on levels many of the other nurses couldn’t. While coming into my room for rounds, the Latinx nurses would casually switch from English to Spanish during our conversations which not only kept up my Spanish skills up when all of my medical team primarily spoke English, it also made me feel like I was home with my family which brought some normalcy into my life. It was nice to see the Latina/x nurses also share jokes and laughs with my parents in Spanish. These moments of familiarity between my parents and my medical care providers were probably the only times I would see them smile during my stay. Because these few Latina nurses were good at their job, not only was I able to heal faster physically, mentally I was able to heal from trauma knowing I could confide in someone who understood my culture, my family and how we dealt with my being a disabled Latina. They also played a huge role in my self-confidence and my understanding that I was entirely capable of making something of myself. Seeing strong Latinas in a powerful profession gave me something I could aspire to be. Being stuck in my hospital bed wasn’t going to be forever and I could accomplish my dream they way my nurses had accomplished their own and be successful like them. These nurses weren’t just medical professionals to me, they became almost like extended family I couldn’t wait to see and learn from.

Others though weren’t as lucky in having one of the few Latina nurses and being privileged to have parents that could speak the same language with all my doctors and nurses.

Courtesy of Andrea Lausell

Recalling a specific hospital stay, I had a roommate that was a newborn baby awaiting surgery. Unfortunately, none of the doctors or nurses were able to communicate with the mother in her Spanish language and they had failed to provide her we an interpreter. My mom was able to bond with the mother and eventually told the mom the unfortunate news about her child’s heart which had a hole that was continuing to expand. Looking back, it’s easy for me to see how unfair it was for my mother to have to deal with the emotional labor of giving troubling news to another mother as well as providing her with support after. It was a job meant for medical professionals and interpreters and was a requirement by law that hospital should have respected to give that mother all the accommodations needed for her to know what was happening to her child. Had there been more Latina/x in medical positions, families would be able to access the proper care they deserve and would ensure that this situation would never have to happen again. Nurses not only care for patients physically but they pick up the slack of what many doctors forget to do when it comes to the emotional wellbeing of their patients.

“We all know, Latinas get sh*t done for the people they care for in life.”

Courtesy of Andrea Lausell

They’re the backbone of our families and our communities. Whether we’re celebrating our victories, or reflecting on our failures, we turn to the mujeres of our families for their unconditional support. Due to our high emphasis on community and caring for others in the Latinx community, Latina/xs make the best nurses and doctors and deserve the opportunities to change the medical world in order to improve it. The 4.8% statistic is slowly rising of Latina/x in medicine, and hopefully, that statistic begins to pick up momentum. More Latina/x in the medical field will not only even out the profession that is often dominated by those that are white but allows young Latina/x to see themselves represented and know that this is a profession that desperately needs them and they’re worthy of acquiring. If it weren’t for the few Latina nurses that had cared for me during all 13 operations I had on my back and brain, I wouldn’t the strong, courageous and most of all healthy Disabled Latina that I am today. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have known that it was okay for me to go for job opportunities I originally thought didn’t want people like me. I owe a lot of my health and success to all the Latina nurses/doctors I had in my life. They were the key to acquiring quality care and had improved my life immensely. We all need and should make an effort encourage our little nenas to seek STEM careers and know that they are worthy of becoming a nurse and or doctor just as any other ethnicity and man in the field.


Read: I’m A Strong, Beautiful, Disabled Latina But I Feared My Body When It Came Down To My First Time Doing ‘It’

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

There’s no denying that the world looks a lot different now than it did in 1947. And while the list of all of the positive changes that the decades stretching between now and then have done for the world and minorities, a recent campaign is also highlighting the ways in which our current president could take some notes on certain values the United States held dear during this time. Particularly ones that had been pressed for by one of our former presidents.

As part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor Policy” effort, he worked to promote positive and healthy relations between the United States in Latin American countries.

At the time Rooseveltaimed to ensure that the North, Central and South American countries avoided breaking under the influence of Axis countries during World War II. As part of this campaign, Roosevelt comissioned a Spanish and a Portuguese version of the U.S. national anthem. According to Time Magazine he also “recruited Hollywood to participate in this Good Neighbor Policy; Walt Disney went on goodwill tour of South America, hoping to find a new market for his films, and ended up producing two movies inspired by the trip: Saludos Amigos (1942) and The Three Caballeros (1944). The Brazilian star Carmen Miranda also got a boost, and her role in The Gang’s All Here made her even more famous in the U.S. And alongside these cross-cultural exchanges, the U.S. government decided it needed an anthem that could reach Spanish speakers.”

According to NPR, Clotilde Arias, wrote wrote the translation at the end of World War II, was born in the small Peruvian city, Iquitos in 1901 and moved to New York City to become a composer when she was 22-years-old. Her version of the anthem is now part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Now in an effort to support Latino communities affected by the coronavirus, the non-profit We Are All Human Foundation’s Hispanic Star campaign commissioned the a remake of the song.

Hoping to raise awareness of its Hispanic Recovery Plan and efforts to help to connect Hispanic small businesses and workers with resources during the pandemic, the campaign brought the old recording from obscurity.

For the song, the 2019 winner of the singing competition La Voz,  Jeidimar Rijos, performed “El Pendón Estrellado.” Or, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 

The song has already received quite a bit of comments and support on Youtube.

Hang in there, fam. We can only get through this together.

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A Group Of Primarily Female Mexican Scientists Discovered A Potential Cure For HPV

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A Group Of Primarily Female Mexican Scientists Discovered A Potential Cure For HPV

“If you’re having sex, you’ll likely contract HPV at some point in your life.” That is how one gynecologist explained the sexually transmitted diseases to me, which completely freaked me out. Even though human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus contracted through sexual intercourse, it doesn’t make it less scary when you realize that it’s related to 150 viruses and can lead to cancer for both men and women. While there are vaccines available to prevent the spread of HPV to a broader age group than in previous years, we are finally closer to finding a cure.

A group of primarily female Mexican scientists at the National Polytechnic Institute cured their patients of HPV.

Twitter/@StephDenisse

The team of researchers, led by Dr. Eva Ramos Gallegos (pictured above), treated 420 patients from Veracruz and Oaxaca, and 29 from Mexico City. They used “photodynamic therapy” which “is a treatment that involves using a drug, called a photosensitizer or photosensitizing agent, and a particular type of light to treat different areas of the body” according to their report.

The doctors found extraordinary results through their method of treatment that led to cure 100 percent of the people that had HPV. They also cured 64.3 percent of people infected with HPV that had cancerous cells, and 57.2 percent of people that had cancerous cells without the HPV virus. That last result could mean that a cure for cancer is not far behind.

“Unlike other treatments, it only eliminates damaged cells and does not affect healthy structures. Therefore, it has great potential to decrease the death rate from cervical cancer,” Dr. Gallegos told Radio Guama.

People on social media ecstatically hailed the finding by the Mexicana researchers.

We highly doubt President Trump will ever mention this achievement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has yet to comment on this remarkable finding.

While there’s more testing that will inevitably take place, we will have to wait and see how long it takes for other researchers and scientists to catch on to their method of treatment.

The fact that a woman-led team discovered this cure is something we should all be applauding.

Hopefully, their research will get more funding so they can further test patients and help educate others about their process.

According to the CDC,  79 million Americans, primarily teens and people in the early 20s, are infected with HPV. In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems like genital warts and cancer. The way to prevent contracting HPV is by getting the vaccine — available for males and females — and by using condoms. However, you can still contract HPV because HPV can infect areas not covered by a condom – so condoms may not adequately protect against getting HPV.

READ: Here Are A Handful Of Reasons Why We Need To Talk To Latinx Kids About S-E-X

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