Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) student nurses use their experiences as minorities to combat racial bias in healthcare.
Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Student Nurses at Vanderbilt University want more respect for AAPI clinicians.
Racial bias against Asian Americans has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic, with harassment directed at Asian nurses and other healthcare workers, despite their effort to stop spread of the virus in hospitals.
The AAPI Student Nurses members are using their experiences as minorities within the healthcare system to give voice to AAPI clients and increase awareness of the health disparities unique to these populations, according to a press release from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Nashville, Tennessee.
The article, COVID-19 update: Navigating biases against Asian Americans during COVID-19, was published last week in Women's Healthcare, a clinical journal for nurse practitioners (NPs), reflecting the discrimination and mistreatment of the AAPI community.
"As frontline workers, these race-related harassments from patients are disheartening and greatly impact AAPI healthcare professionals’ abilities to carry out their roles as patient advocates," the article reads. "In addition to anti-Asian harassment encountered in the workplace, AAPI healthcare professionals are dealing with increasing harassment in their daily lives and safety concerns for their loved ones."
Health organizations have a responsibility to address bias, for both their employees and patients, the student nurses write.
"Acknowledging that racism and xenophobia are major public health issues is a necessary first step," the article reads. "Racial discrimination is recognized as a social determinant of health. Studies have shown that experiences of racism are linked to poor physical and mental health outcomes, both short and long term."
It also suggests healthcare institutions should:
- Support healthcare employees through intolerance for racial prejudice;
- Hold perpetrators accountable and take prompt, appropriate actions to protect vulnerable employees when discrimination occurs within the workplace;
- Provide mental health resources and support groups for AAPI employees to process, grieve, and heal from race-related stress and traumatic discriminatory events;
- Partner with local antiracist organizations to better understand the role of racism within their communities and resultant health disparities;
- Provide transparency in policies, diversity efforts in hiring procedures, and cultural competency training within healthcare organizations.
“Through their work and this experience," says Ginny Moore, associate professor of nursing and director of the women’s health nurse practitioner specialty, "these students are shaping the future of nursing for the better."
“As frontline workers, these race-related harassments from patients are disheartening and greatly impact AAPI healthcare professionals’ abilities to carry out their roles as patient advocates.”
COVID-19 update: Navigating biases against Asian Americans during Covid-19
Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.
Photo credit: Vanderbilt University
Racial bias against Asian Americans, including nurses and other healthcare workers, has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Racial discrimination is recognized as a social determinant of health and is linked to poor physical and mental health outcomes.
Healthcare institutions must support healthcare employees through intolerance for racial prejudice.