Addressing Barriers to Maternal Healthcare for Marshallese Islanders in Northwest Arkansas: An Internship Experience
Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
The Marshallese community is a rapidly growing population in Northwest Arkansas. Approximately 12,000 people migrated from the Marshall Islands and settled in the state of Arkansas due to the signing of the Compact of Free Association (COFA) in 1986. Although the population in Northwest Arkansas is experiencing rapid growth, there are significant health disparities that coincide with it. Due to vast cultural differences, language barriers, low economic status, and political barriers, the Marshallese community suffers from prenatal health inequalities and poor maternal and fetal outcomes, including low birth-weight infants, premature births, and increased infant mortality. During my internship, I provided care for many Marshallese mothers and infants and saw these barriers firsthand. I gained nursing experience through every aspect of the birthing process and learned critical thinking, technical, and communication skills while shadowing my nurse. I analyzed fetal heart tones, assessed mothers’ pain level and performed nursing interventions, assembled delivery tables and instruments, practiced therapeutic communication with my patients, and approached each labor uniquely. During my internship, I was able to interview Willow Creek Women’s Hospital’s Marshallese secretary, Kiki Beasha. In this interview, Kiki recounted her own experience with barriers while working at Willow Creek and offered possible solutions to the problem. Solutions such as policy reform, cultural competency training, hiring bilingual ancillary staff, and offering transportation options would help facilitate a positive change for Marshallese patients.
Marshallese, prenatal care, health disparities, barriers, Arkansas, labor and delivery
Richardson, V. (2019). Addressing Barriers to Maternal Healthcare for Marshallese Islanders in Northwest Arkansas: An Internship Experience. The Eleanor Mann School of Nursing Undergraduate Honors Theses Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/nursuht/93
Maternal, Child Health and Neonatal Nursing Commons, Nursing Midwifery Commons, Obstetrics and Gynecology Commons, Public Health and Community Nursing Commons