One third of nurses that die from covid are Filipino

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by Tweety Tweety, BSN, RN Member Nurse

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 30 years experience.

Quote

Nearly a third of the nurses who've died of coronavirus in the US are Filipino, even though Filipino nurses make up just 4% of the nursing population nationwide.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/24/health/filipino-nurse-deaths/index.html

I did not know this.  This is a stunning statistic.  

Kitiger, RN

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics. Has 43 years experience. 1,705 Posts

I see four possible reasons for this; there may be more. The saddest one to me is that they are less likely to speak up for themselves.

"The major finding...was that Philippine-trained nurses were disproportionately in the ICUs, the emergency rooms, in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, compared to White, US-trained nurses. They were therefore much more exposed to Covid-19," says Jennifer Nazareno, the co-founder and co-director of the Philippine Health Initiative for Research, Service, and Training at Brown University's School of Public Health.

"They're also more likely to live in multi-generational households, caring for more dependents. And often, she says, they're breadwinners supporting family members in the United States and the Philippines. That means they may be more likely to stay in high-stress jobs that put them more at risk."

". . .  they face significant chronic health disparities themselves, including being more likely to have diabetes or heart disease."

"Cortez, the president of National Nurses United, shared another theory with CNN. She says Filipino nurses are less likely to question authority and speak up even if, for example, they fear their employers aren't providing them with adequate protective equipment. That's especially true, she says, when they've come to the United States on work visas."

Guest856929

Guest856929

486 Posts

18 hours ago, Kitiger said:

I see four possible reasons for this; there may be more. The saddest one to me is that they are less likely to speak up for themselves.

"The major finding...was that Philippine-trained nurses were disproportionately in the ICUs, the emergency rooms, in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, compared to White, US-trained nurses. They were therefore much more exposed to Covid-19," says Jennifer Nazareno, the co-founder and co-director of the Philippine Health Initiative for Research, Service, and Training at Brown University's School of Public Health.

"They're also more likely to live in multi-generational households, caring for more dependents. And often, she says, they're breadwinners supporting family members in the United States and the Philippines. That means they may be more likely to stay in high-stress jobs that put them more at risk."

". . .  they face significant chronic health disparities themselves, including being more likely to have diabetes or heart disease."

"Cortez, the president of National Nurses United, shared another theory with CNN. She says Filipino nurses are less likely to question authority and speak up even if, for example, they fear their employers aren't providing them with adequate protective equipment. That's especially true, she says, when they've come to the United States on work visas."

Agree with your assessment. Too many confounding variables to consider. 

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care, General Cardiology. Has 30 years experience. 9 Articles; 4,338 Posts

As a Filipino-American nursing professional myself, I agree with those assessments.  I feel that most importantly, this is a wake up call for more awareness among my community to recognize our own practices in keeping ourselves healthy.  There is a disproportionately higher incidence of hypertension, diabetes and consequently early heart and kidney disease in Filipino-Americans and there is work to do to address that.  

What is sobering for me is that there is a large Filipino diaspora of healthcare workers in all corners of the world and through news items like the one posted, I've found out that a classmate in nursing school, a surgical resident I worked with as a new nurse, and a husband of a co-worker from years back have all died of this dreadful virus.

lee1

lee1

754 Posts

I agree with all of the above, also when it comes to nursing unions within hospitals they are very reluctant to participate verbally and just go along with the crowd. For the most part they do NOT help the unions get ahead.

 

herring_RN, ASN, BSN

Specializes in Critical care, tele, Medical-Surgical. Has 50 years experience. 3,651 Posts

I live and worked 42 years in Los Angeles. About 25% of the RNs in Southern California are from the Philippines or their parents were.

When I was a new LVN I was blessed to be oriented, mentored, and friends with the three RNs on our unit. Mila, Fe, and Fran were excellent experience RNs and charge nurses. (Rotated charge). One was not from the Philippines. All were kind, and helpful With our nursing assistants we were dedicated to providing the best possible care for our patients. When our hospital was sold to a for-profit we learned to speak up for ourselves as well as our patients.

Most of my fellow healthcare workers there, at another hospital, and a few I met working registry are either lifelong friends, or "Christmas Card friends if they moved.
At Good Samaritan Hospital in Downtown Los Angeles about 85% of the nurses are Filipino. With few exceptions they are not only top quality nurses, they speak out and ACT for themselves. They initiated their joining our union and many are statewide, and/or national leaders. I worked with many as a registry nurse. Some have accomplished so much I admire them greatly. A few have become close friends. Here is one recent example:

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Good Samaritan Nurses Strengthen Patient Advocacy, Retain Experienced RNs In New Contract

Registered nurses at Good Samaritan Hospital have overwhelmingly voted to ratify a new three-year contract. The agreement—impacting around 540 Good Samaritan RNs—includes contract protections for nurses to advocate for improved patient care, as well as wage and benefit improvements to enhance recruitment and retention at the hospital.

“We’re so proud that nurses stood up and fought for this new agreement, which leaves us in a much better position to retain experienced nurses and to provide safe, quality care for our patients,” said Sussette Nacorda, RN...

... RNs succeeded in persuading hospital officials to withdraw demands for huge out of pocket increases in their health coverage and retirement plan. According to Narcoda, “Nurses are by our patients’ sides when they enter the world, and when they leave it. This contract now ensures that we, the caregivers, can be cared for in turn—and have a dignified retirement, after years of lifesaving service.”...

...    Wage increases of up to 20 percent within the next 3 years begin to reduce pay disparities with other nearby hospitals, helping to retain the most experienced nurses for the community...

...  “Nurses spoke up, on behalf of our patients, and this contract is a big victory,” said Milton Maristela, RN. “It shows that when we can work together, we can uphold the kind of healthcare that our community deserves.”...

https://www.nationalnursesunited.org/press/good-samaritan-nurses-strengthen-patient-advocacy-retain-experienced-rns-new-contract

The quoted nurses, Suzette and Milton are fun friends as well as heroes to me. Both have been my charge nurse who made sure I got my lunch and breaks. Well organized, helpful, and kindly explaining their unit and staff.

These beautiful Northern California RNs are also outspoken advocates for their patients and themselves:

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juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care, General Cardiology. Has 30 years experience. 9 Articles; 4,338 Posts

@herring_RN, I really appreciate your comment.  I feel like stereotyping Filipino nurses as subservient goes against the fact that in California where up to 1 in 4 nurses are Filipino (both Philippine-born and US-born) goes against the notion that we don't help advance union goals in a state where the CNA has made momentous advancement toward safe staffing.

As far as the CNN article, I have high respect for Miss Cortez, our current CNA president and a Filipino-American nurse herself but even her comment about Filipino nurses who would not defy employer's unsafe working conditions due to fear that their visas will be revoked goes against the current employment climate.  There have been no newly arrived nurses from the Philippines in years due to the discontinuation of work visas except those with TN1 Visa which only applies to nurses from Canada. 

lee1

lee1

754 Posts

Come over to NJ and see what the ratios are in the NJ hospitals.  Probably you are right that no newly arrived nurses have come for years but the problem still exists that they will just NOT speak up except for a few and that does not help even in the unionized hospitals.  They basically give great care but do as they are told or just don't complain about the working conditions.  When a hospital is 70% Filipino nurses this causes a BIG problem with the rest of the nurses that are struggling for better working conditions.  Management just gets away with what ever they want in these conditions.

Guest856929

Guest856929

486 Posts

1 hour ago, lee1 said:

Come over to NJ and see what the ratios are in the NJ hospitals.  Probably you are right that no newly arrived nurses have come for years but the problem still exists that they will just NOT speak up except for a few and that does not help even in the unionized hospitals.  They basically give great care but do as they are told or just don't complain about the working conditions.  When a hospital is 70% Filipino nurses this causes a BIG problem with the rest of the nurses that are struggling for better working conditions.  Management just gets away with what ever they want in these conditions.

I have worked in hospital units where the staff is >98% US born Caucasians with no Filipino nurses and most of them were demure and acquiesced to all sorts of manure being peddled down nurses’ throats by the powers that be. I’m non-Filipino and I respect how they do about their business, especially the immigrants. They’re about the fundamental bottom line that brought them here —economic mobility.

Cindy2000

Cindy2000

10 Posts

On 12/2/2020 at 11:53 AM, lee1 said:

Come over to NJ and see what the ratios are in the NJ hospitals.  Probably you are right that no newly arrived nurses have come for years but the problem still exists that they will just NOT speak up except for a few and that does not help even in the unionized hospitals.  They basically give great care but do as they are told or just don't complain about the working conditions.  When a hospital is 70% Filipino nurses this causes a BIG problem with the rest of the nurses that are struggling for better working conditions.  Management just gets away with what ever they want in these conditions.

I totally agree! I’m seeing that in real life person today! And the sad thing is, new nurses quit because they feel helpless when trying to make changes. It’s a never ending vicious cycle.