Delaware, California County Take Steps To Address Nursing Shortages, Boost Number of Bicultural, Bilingual Nurses
Two newspapers recently examined nursing shortages in Delaware and Ventura County, Calif., and efforts to increase the number of nurses who speak Spanish or are Hispanic to handle an increasing Hispanic patient load. Summaries of the articles appear below.
- Delaware: Delaware is facing both a general nursing shortage and a shortage of nurses who speak Spanish, the Wilmington News Journal reports. The state has experienced an influx of Spanish-speaking immigrants, and there is concern that those individuals will be less likely to seek health care services if a health professional is not proficient in Spanish. According to a Delaware Health Care Commission report, fewer than 1% of nurses in the state are Hispanic. To help nurses become bilingual and bicultural, nursing students at Wilmington University are able to obtain a Hispanic Cultural Certificate after completing three Spanish-language classes and courses on Hispanic culture and other issues that affect immigrants. Students also practice in health care settings that serve Hispanic patients (Ratnayake, Wilmington News Journal, 9/29).
- Ventura County, Calif.: About 50 health care providers and educators on Tuesday participated in a symposium to discuss the county's nursing shortage, as well as ways to boost the number of Hispanic nurses, the Ventura County Star reports. Destino: The Hispanic Legacy Fund and the Ventura Nursing Legacy Project hosted the symposium, titled "Diversity in Nursing and the Impact on the Ventura County Latino Community." Keynote speaker Hayley Buchbinder, a researcher at the University of California-Los Angeles who has studied nursing programs around California, said that many community colleges, where 70% of the state's nurses receive their education, have capacity problems and faculty shortages. Joan Beem, director of the nursing program at Ventura College, said that basic math and reading comprehension skills are a barrier for students applying to the program. Another barrier is cost, she added (Bakalis, Ventura County Star, 10/1).