Being a nurse in today’s world is hard. Juggling a professional career and a home life often means being overworked, which is why having a support system or safety net of people who understand is important.
That safety net was the reason that Carolina Frantz founded the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses.
The National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) was founded in 1975 and is the nation’s “leading professional society for Latino nurses”, as they state on their organization’s site.
The Pittsburgh and Western PA chapter of NAHN has operated since 2018. Starting with just six members originally, they have already grown by 50%, and they are always looking to take on new members!
Frantz, founder and President of the local chapter and a nursing instructor here in Western PA, spoke about her experience with NAHN since opening the chapter here.
“I reached out looking for what we consider familia, just looking for those like ourselves,” she said of her start in NAHN.
When she realized that there wasn’t a chapter near her, she took it a step beyond. “We didn’t really have a way of connecting so I reached out to National,” Frantz said of starting the Western PA chapter.
Frantz also described her own journey with nursing, sharing candidly about her start. “I went into nursing by accident, and it’s the best decision I could have made to support my family, to grow myself as a professional, and it’s so nice to give people [a look] at the opportunities [they] have,” she said.
“As Hispanics, we’re out there working, we’re out there providing, we don’t really have time to look into opportunities for ourselves because we’re too busy caring for everyone else,” Frantz noted.
Despite the challenges that the pandemic has brought to the nursing world, Frantz and the rest of the chapter have been resilient. “Some of us have shifted jobs here and there, but this has remained a constant for us, which was almost like a remedy to helping us get through this process,” she said of the impact of the chapter during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We did everything via Zoom [but] we were religious and showed up on the third Saturday of every month, we were all there, coffee in hand, Zoom on, and we made a point to be consistent.”
Now, the chapter has finally been able to begin a hybrid system of in person and Zoom meetings. In person meetings are always held at a Hispanic restaurant, such as The Colombian Spot and Emiliano’s in favor of supporting the local Latino community.
The mission of both the National Association and of the Pittsburgh Chapter is simple: to provide a space for Latino nurses to come together, to advocate for their Hispanic community, and to provide opportunities for young minorities in the medical and nursing world.
Frantz also noted that the NAHN is a diverse space, and a space for everyone. “You don’t have to be Hispanic to join us! You just have to be a nurse. Be a nurse and support the mission.”
If you or someone you know are interested in joining the Pittsburgh chapter of the National Association for Hispanic Nurses, or supporting their mission, more information can be found on their website and on their Facebook page.