TEMPLETON, Calif. – Two hospital workers on the frontline of healthcare are reflecting on what it means to represent their community during Hispanic Heritage month.
Lila Ornelas is a charge nurse at Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton.
She said as a Latina in this line of work, she enjoys her job and likes helping the Hispanic community.
“So I help manage our daily routine in our unit,” said Ornelas. “I make sure our appointments go smoothly. We have NSTs; we have scheduled procedures.”
Alameda Health System reports that 7% of Latinos and Latinas are physicians in California.
Ornelas said it's a privilege to be in this career, and representation is crucial.
“It's been helpful to know a second language. I speak fluent Spanish, and it's been super helpful because you can reach more patients,” said Ornelas. “We do have a growing population of just Spanish-speaking patients. They seem to be underserved because of the language barrier.”
Ornelas isn’t the only one who feels this way.
Blanca Melendez has been a housekeeper at the hospital for 20 years.
She said all workers make her feel appreciated.
“Well, I stayed for so long because one of the things is I love this job very much, and the hearts of all these people are incomparable,” said Melendez. “They have a great love for each other. And it's a very nice thing."
Melendez also expresses the importance of her job.
“How important is it? It is essential because you help keep the place beautiful and clean,” said Melendez. “To make everyone feel comfortable.”
Latino health care workers add that communication is vital and make sure they feel comfortable when the Latino community needs to talk about their health needs.