Diversity is a familiar concept here in America, the country known as the melting pot of different cultures. It would only make sense for a community that has so much variety to have a workforce that is equally as diverse. This is especially true when it comes to nursing. Since nurses are at the forefront of health care, it is imperative for them to be representative of the community that they serve.
Asian Americans comprise one part of our diverse community and are one of the fastest growing minority populations in America. Asian nurses can help provide a more culturally in-tune health care experience for Asian-Americans.
Different cultural aspects, such as language, religion and traditional medicine, can make providing care difficult. Of these, language is the most common barrier in receiving effective care. When the patient and provider do not understand what the other is saying, vital information can easily be lost in translation. As a result, the patient can easily grow frustrated and feel as if their opinion is not being taken into consideration.
Differing religious customs and practices of traditional medicine can also dictate how receptive Asian-American patients are to certain health care interventions. As the primary advocates for patients, it is especially important that nurses have knowledge of these cultural differences and show respect for them.
Not only is it difficult for Asian-Americans to navigate the workings of the health care system, but it is also just as difficult for Asian-American nurses to find their way. Often times, personal beliefs and family pressures can make nursing school a more difficult process.
A common problem is when the family believes becoming a nurse is less distinguished than becoming a doctor. This adds pressure for the student nurse to prove their parents wrong. It might also mean a lack of parental support during nursing school. It is easy to began feeling lonely and alienated from other peers who do not seem to share the same problems. But there are others who do share this situation. This problem is very prevalent in Asian culture; however, it is seen in all races and cultures.
The Student Community of Asian Nurses (SCAN) was founded by a group of students who discovered peers in this similar circumstance and aim to cultivate a supportive, fun and academic environment for this specific population.
SCAN is an organization for all students striving to become nurses. Our organization aims to foster a community in which aspiring nurses can share their stories and provide support for one another. SCAN works to incorporate an Asian culture into the journey of becoming a nurse in order to spread awareness and add more cultural dimensions to the field of nursing.
SCAN is also dedicated to helping our local community through volunteering and public health. We work closely with professors and interprofessional UT Austin organizations to give back to our community and be leaders in making it a better and healthier place.
Visit Student Community of Asian Nurses website to learn more about the organization.
—Belinda Seto and Daniel Tran
Members of SCAN leadership team