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St. Thomas University
Prof. Kathleen Price
October 28, 2021
The COVID-19 has affected over 45 million in the United States and has led to over seven hundred and forty thousand deaths across the United States. The pandemic has increasingly affected all individuals and has led to various economic as well as social changes. However, there have been some health disparities identified with people of color being among the most affected individuals (Reyes, 2020). Nurses are at the frontline of providing health care services to individuals that have been infected by the virus. Therefore, as a nurse, I have come across various COVID-19 cases where the patient needed to be observed or there was a need to manage the condition.
One case was that of a middle-aged pregnant woman that had contracted the virus. The symptoms started as headaches and feeling tired. She stated that she initially assumed these symptoms as normal pregnancy symptoms as she had earlier on in the week engaged in some intensive exercises as she went shopping with some family members. However, one evening she had some challenges breathing and her family members rushed her to the hospital. She had to be put on oxygen as she needed support breathing. She was given a PCR test that turned out to be negative. However, the fact that she needed to be on oxygen necessitated another test which also read negative. At this point, it was crucial that a chest scan be done to help with the diagnosis. Upon the scan, the physician diagnosed the patient with COVID-19. Her condition quickly deteriorated and she had to be put in intensive care. It was especially challenging caring for her given that she was seven months pregnant at the time. At one point, the family had contemplated terminating the pregnancy to increase her chances of surviving given that fetal movements had subsided for a while. However, after a few weeks in the intensive care unit, she made a full recovery and was able to deliver her baby full-term. She remained on oxygen and under observation until her due date.
The patient was a patient of color, with a university education and is from a middle-income family. Her family, the mother, and three sisters, played an important role as they helped with the health care decision making. The patient’s health literacy was high and, therefore, she would ensure that she had information on all possible alternatives before making a decision relating to her health. The education level of individuals is highly linked to their health literacy with individuals with higher education being perceived as being health literate (Bayati, et al., 2018). As a person of color, it was important to provide culturally competent care to meet her needs. A quick self-assessment was important to ensure that I do not hold any subtle biases that might affect the delivery of care. It was especially important to recognize that a majority of Black Americans do not trust the health care system due to past historical injustices. Therefore, creating a conducive therapeutic environment was important for helping build a mutually trusting relationship. The relationship was especially crucial in educating the patient and family about the importance of getting vaccinated. According to Kricorian & Turner (2021), the acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine is low among Black Americans. Therefore, it was important to address all their concerns about the vaccine and understand the impact of culture on the same. The efforts made were not in vain as the family was fully vaccinated with the patient receiving the vaccine a few months after giving birth.