NURSING CRISIS: Bilingual Assistants Filling Void
Bilingual nursing assistants, often immigrants, are taking on a "key role in meeting the cultural and medical needs" of Minnesota residents, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. A shortage of nursing assistants in the state has prompted hospital and nursing home administrators to turn to immigrants to fill positions, and many are "helping with cultural barriers in the medical field" at the same time. Jane Graupman of the International Institute of Minnesota said her organization trains more than 100 students annually in its 11-week courses, teaching "U.S. newcomers" to dress and bathe patients and take their blood pressure. "Hospitals are very interested in bilingual people," she said, and nursing homes, too, "are starting to get residents who need bilingual services." Jennifer Milsap, a nurse manager for Regions Hospital in St. Paul, said that "with a growing number of foreign-born patients, bilingual nursing assistants help medical staff with the communication necessary for proper treatment." One St. Paul nursing home, the Galtier Health Center, employs bilingual nursing assistants to staff its Southeast Asia Wing. Created five years ago, the wing boasts cultural murals, traditional music and "rice and tofu soup ... to make residents feel at home." Joan Jarombek of the center said that the Southeast Asia staff members are in high demand, as few of the residents speak English (Da, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 8/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.