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Celebrating & Honoring Filipino Nurses

Nursing has been a Respected and Trusted Profession for the 18th year in a row, according to the Gallup survey. The World Health Organization named 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

The news media and government officials showed the world the hard work of nurses as they struggle to deal with the shortage of PPEs; be the family for patients who are not able to be with their loved ones. Together with other healthcare professionals, they are portrayed as heroes.

If we take the pandemic story out of this context, the work that nurses do are the same work that they have been doing since Florence Nightingale’s time and it is now magnified as a result of COVID-19. There has been so much loss and so many brave heroes in the healthcare community. In this segment, we talk to MJ Dia, current President of PNAA, who shares the struggles of #filipinonurses in the time of Covid-19.

She begins by tracing the history of the organization, that the founding nurse leaders of five chapters (New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan and Central California) united to form the Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA) in 1979 as a response to the growing need for a concerted effort to address the issues and concerns of Filipino nurses in the USA, whose mission is to uphold and foster the positive image and welfare of its constituent members and promote professional excellence and contribute to significant outcomes to healthcare and society.

PNAA’s presence in 43 states all across the United States is represented by over 5,000 nurses with diverse background and expertise as senior executives, advance practitioners, educators, researchers and other specialties. The group celebrated its 40 years during their National Convention in Atlanta Georgia in 2019.

The conversation continues with MJ pointing out that the mental well-being and psychosocial impact of COVID-19 pervades the nursing community. The Filipino-American immigrant community is a multigeneration of healthcare providers. In conversations with their members, majority have parents and siblings who are nurses or in the medical profession and the psychological impact is not just within nursing but also in the Filipino-American community, as a whole.

The Heal Our Nurses Campaign is a project that came out of the PNAA COVID-19 Task Force. Its Immediate/Critical Goals are – 1) Mask our Nurses – to provide appropriate masks for nurses; and 2) Care Package – to provide meal delivery/care products to promote self-care for nurses.

MJ also shares that from a healthcare system perspective, nurse leaders have had to re-imagine how they do work and adjust to the new normal. She says nurses in administrative positions have to be agile and flexible in converting spaces and bring in concepts of disaster planning within the day-to-day management of their patient and human resource.

In closing, MJ says that in her opinion, this isn’t just the Year of the Nurse anymore, 2020 is also the Year of the Patient; and she looks forward to a future where nurses will always be remembered as #healthheroes armed with their Head, Heart, Hands in providing competent and compassionate care.

MJ also reminds the public to wash hands, practice social distancing and wear a mask when going out in public.

This segment is made possibly by Southern California Toyota – championing the communities they serve and operate in – providing support so these communities may survive and continue to thrive during these difficult times.

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