The Hispanic population has experienced significant growth and has become the largest ethnic group in the United States. Pew Research Center (2022) reported a record 60.6 million Hispanics in the U.S., accounting for 18.5% of the population (Noe-Bustamante et al., 2020). This development has been attributed to natural increase (births exceeding deaths), and Latin American immigration contributed to this growth. Three states stand out when examining the states with the highest Hispanic/Latinx populations. They include California, Texas, and Florida. Thus, these states have historically drawn many Hispanic immigrants due to their proximity to Latin America and economic opportunities.
In California, Hispanics are a large racial and ethnic group. According to Statista 2021, 15.7 million Californians are Hispanic (Statista, 2021). Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Salvadorans are among the diverse Hispanic subgroups in California. Secondly, this is followed by Texas, whose residents include a11.29 million Hispanic. The population makes up 40.2% of the state population, while non-Hispanic white makes up 39.4% (Ura, 2022). Most Texas Hispanics are Mexican, but there are also large Central American and South American groups. Lastly, Florida’s thriving Latino communities include Hispanics. 26.1% of Florida’s population, 5.5 million, were Hispanic in 2020 (Florida, 2020). Florida’s Hispanic population includes Cuban Americans, Puerto Ricans, Colombians, and Venezuelans.
California, Texas, and Florida’s Hispanic/Latinx populations are culturally diverse. Culturally responsive healthcare requires understanding these populations’ demographics and cultures. Nurses and healthcare professionals must understand their health needs and concerns to provide equitable and effective healthcare to Hispanic populations.
Health-related Problems Encountered by the Hispanic Population
Healthcare access is uneven among Hispanic Americans, especially low-income and uninsured people. Low-wage Hispanic occupations generally lack health insurance. Thus, many Hispanics may have trouble affording healthcare. Without insurance, patients may delay treatment, worsening their health. The uninsured may use emergency departments for primary care, which raises expenses and strains resources.
Socioeconomic factors influence Hispanic healthcare decisions and outcomes. Linguistic and financial hurdles hamper healthcare access. Hispanics may struggle with the complex healthcare system, medical information, and provider communication. Cultural norms and beliefs in traditional treatments may also affect healthcare decision-making and treatment adherence.
Health disparities are also linked to poverty and education. Low-income and educated Hispanics may have greater incidences of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. Healthy food and safe environments may be scarce, increasing health hazards. Cultural norms like family and job duties may also affect healthcare-seeking and preventative care.
Hispanic culture is diverse due to its origins, languages, and customs. This diversity offers nurses treating this group both possibilities and challenges. Nurses must understand Hispanic subgroups’ ideas, values, and traditions. Trust, communication, and culturally appropriate treatment require cultural humility and understanding.
Cultural variety may affect immigrant health behaviors and views about sickness and healthcare. Some Hispanic cultures value traditional, herbal, and home cures. To encourage patient engagement and adherence, nurses should discuss and incorporate these ideas into the healthcare plan when appropriate. To improve communication and medical knowledge, nurses should use interpretation services.
Nurses may deliver patient-centered care that recognizes individual views and preferences by understanding and appreciating Hispanic cultural diversity. This involves adapting health education materials, hiring bilingual personnel or interpreters, and working with community organizations to meet the healthcare needs of diverse Hispanic subgroups. Culturally sensitive healthcare improves patient satisfaction, health outcomes, and Hispanic health inequalities.
Healthcare Access for the Hispanic Population
Cultural differences play a significant role in healthcare access for the Hispanic population. Hispanic health and healthcare attitudes, values, and norms vary. For instance, cultural customs, family relationships, and religious views may influence medical care decisions. Some Hispanics seek healthcare based on advice from family and community elders. Cultural stigmas and taboos around particular health disorders or seeking mental health services can also prevent access to adequate care.
Healthcare professionals must acknowledge cultural differences to build trust and involvement. This includes integrating family members in healthcare decisions, recognizing cultural values and concerns, and delivering culturally appropriate healthcare information. Community organizations and cultural mediators can help healthcare services meet Hispanic cultural needs.
Language barriers pose a significant challenge to healthcare delivery and access for the Hispanic population, particularly those with limited English proficiency. It is because accurate diagnosis, treatment adherence, and patient education require provider-patient communication. Language limitations can make understanding and handling patients’ health concerns difficult, resulting in miscommunication, misunderstandings, and poor healthcare results. Thus, healthcare institutions should prioritize medical interpreters or bilingual employees to overcome language issues. Interpreters maintain patient confidentiality and accuracy. Translated instructional materials and visual aids can also help patients understand. Culturally competent care recognizes that language includes body language and gestures, which differ between cultures.
Poverty is a significant factor hindering healthcare access among the Hispanic population. Economic inequality might affect health insurance and preventive care access. Since many Hispanics work low-wage jobs, many don’t have health insurance or can’t afford it. Medicaid and other public health insurance programs cover low-income Hispanics, but eligibility and enrollment can be difficult.
Expanding healthcare coverage, enhancing eligibility, and raising knowledge of public health programs can reduce the impact of poverty on healthcare access. Outreach, community clinics, and mobile healthcare units can reach low-income Hispanics. Therefore, healthcare institutions and politicians can reduce healthcare inequities and improve Hispanic access by addressing poverty-related structural impediments.
The Lost Boys of Sudan – Immigrant Refugees
The Lost Boys of Sudan were young boys who fled their homes during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983–2005). This war was violent, destructive, and deadly. Many boys, some as young as five, walked thousands of kilometers across Sudan and neighboring countries to escape the bloodshed. They suffered starvation, dehydration, terrible weather, and regular armed group attacks. Many of these Lost Boys were relocated as refugees to the U.S., where they struggled to adjust. This population had specific healthcare needs due to trauma, cultural adaptations, and language problems.
Poor living circumstances, limited access to healthcare, and unfamiliar infections put refugees, like the Lost Boys of Sudan, in danger of infectious diseases. Refugees often contract tuberculosis, hepatitis, malaria, and gastrointestinal ailments. The Lost Boys may have contracted malaria, typhoid fever, and diarrhea while traveling through war zones and overcrowded refugee camps. Due to healthcare disruptions and a lack of sexual education, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), particularly HIV/AIDS, are also a concern.
Refugees, especially the Lost Boys of Sudan, also face non-communicable diseases. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sadness, and anxiety may result from civil conflict and displacement trauma. Hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disorders may also affect the Lost Boys. These health difficulties are caused by stress, trauma, lack of preventive healthcare, Western diets, and sedentary lives in their new environment.
Cultural Considerations in Caring for the Lost Boys of Sudan
Caring for the Lost Boys of Sudan requires a deep understanding of their cultural beliefs and practices. These boys have different tribal customs, traditions, and worldviews. Nurses must understand the Lost Boys’ culture to provide culturally competent treatment. For instance, traditional healing practices and beliefs may coexist with Western medical approaches. Traditional healers or cultural rituals may help the Lost Boys heal. Hence, understanding and respecting these beliefs is essential in building trust and developing effective healthcare plans.
In addition, Lost Boys of Sudan have endured trauma, conflict, displacement, and loss for years. PTSD, anxiety, sadness, and other mental health issues may follow. Nurses must be sensitive and empathic since trauma affects their physical and mental health. Also, post-migration pressures can worsen mental illness. This is because resettlement, culture shock, language hurdles, and social isolation can stress the Lost Boys. As a result, nurses should be aware of these stressors and offer assistance, resources, and mental health referrals to help patients cope.
Treating the Lost Boys of Sudan requires cultural sensitivity. Cultural competence means appreciating different cultures. Nurses should respectfully listen to boys’ care preferences. Respecting cultural differences includes adopting Lost Boys’ healthcare methods. For instance, adapting dietary choices and limits, adopting traditional healing techniques when appropriate, and including family members in decision-making can improve healthcare outcomes, cultural safety, and trust.
Role of Nurses in Providing Resources for the Lost Boys of Sudan
Nurses are crucial in advocating for healthcare access and resources for the Lost Boys of Sudan. This requires actively promoting healthcare equity for this group. Nurses can lobby for language access services, culturally competent care training for healthcare providers, and extended public health insurance eligibility for refugee communities. Nurses can also campaign for Lost Boys-specific healthcare clinics or programs. These programs offer complete healthcare, mental health support, and healthcare system navigation.
The Lost Boys of Sudan need good communication. Professional translators or bilingual personnel should help nurses communicate accurately and culturally. Interpreters help patients understand their diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care by bridging the language gap. In addition, cultural mediators can help healthcare practitioners and Lost Boys communicate. These people are well-versed in community culture. Cultural mediators can assist nurses in delivering culturally appropriate care and building trust with the Lost Boys.
Nurses can treat the Lost Boys of Sudan holistically using community resources. This can be accomplished through refugee resettlement agencies, cultural centers, and advocacy groups. These groups can inform nurses about Lost Boys’ needs and connect them to mental health care, educational programs, vocational training, and social support networks. Using community resources, nurses can help Lost Boys integrate into their new communities. Thus, community resources can help Lost Boys with housing, job, language, and legal services, improving their well-being and resettlement.
Florida. (2020). 2020 CENSUS PROFILES FLORIDA. https://naleo.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/2020-Census-Profiles-FL.pdf
Noe-Bustamante, L., Lopez, M. H., & Krogstad, J. M. (2020). U.S. Hispanic population surpassed 60 million in 2019, but growth has slowed. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2020/07/07/u-s-hispanic-population-surpassed-60-million-in-2019-but-growth-has-slowed/
Statista. (2021). The resident population of California in 2021 by race and ethnicity. Statista; Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/306026/california-population-ethnicity-race/
Ura, A. (2022, September 15). Hispanic Texans may now be the state’s largest demographic group, new census data shows. The Texas Tribune. https://www.texastribune.org/2022/09/15/texas-demographics-census-2021/