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Healthcare providers: understand the impact of your words


Near the beginning of the pandemic, an Asian family experienced an overt act of racism at a community center in the Pacific Northwest. It upset the two children so much that the family visited their pediatrician’s office for guidance and support. The healthcare provider dismissed the parents’ concerns and subtly criticized them for “deposit(ing) things in children’s minds.”

This real story is the heart of a new commentary paper published in the Asian/Pacific Island Nursing Journal.

Lead author Connie K.Y. Nguyen-Truong, an assistant professor in the WSU College of Nursing, said she and her fellow authors were prompted to write the article to help healthcare providers understand the impact of their words and actions. Co-authors are Shameem Rakha, assistant professor in the WSU College of Education; Deborah Eti, clinical assistant professor in the WSU College of Nursing; and WSU RN-BSN nursing student Lisa Angelesco.

“In writing the article, our team wanted to help people see themselves,” said Nguyen-Truong. “We wanted them to step back and say, if this is the family’s perception of the words said by a healthcare provider, what words have I used?”

In the article, the family are identified by pseudonyms, but the real adults and children agreed to have […]

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