During the early 1970s, thousands of nurses from India migrated to the United States of America to compensate for the nursing shortage in the States. This massive immigration of Indian caregivers drew many new challenges related to the licensing processes, scheduling, staffing, technical skills, communication and other socio-economic & cultural aspects. A few nurses of Indian origin got together and started thinking of solutions to address these substantial challenges. They eventually mused the need for an organization to alleviate the struggles and to support the nurses from India. These brainstorming sessions sparked and sparkled the interests of the first generation along with contemporary generation Indian-American nurses to form an advocacy group, by integrating the dynamism of the current generation and the wisdom of the pioneer generation.In 2005, an innovative professional organization was born in Philadelphia to serve, support and advocate for the growing needs of nurses of Indian origin. The organization was named “Pennsylvania Indian American Nurses’ Organization (abbreviated as PIANO to evoke the melody and harmony; unity among diversity). The inauguration for this organization took place on October 6th of 2006 at St. Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic Church auditorium, located at 608 Welsh Road, Philadelphia, PA.
The founding team members who broke ground for PIANO included George Nadavayal, Bindhu George, Bridget Parappurath, Lila Mathew, Rosamma Sunny, Molly Rajan, Ammukutty Gheevarghese, Vanaja George, Merly Palathinkal, Sara Ipe, Mariamma Thomas, and Susan Pallam. Mrs. Bridget Vincent was selected as the first President of PIANO. Mrs. Aney Paul, a New York legislator, also played a key role in supporting the initial stages of this organization. National, state and local leaders as well as clergy from different denominations demonstrated their support by attending the inauguration. Speakers at this event emphasized the importance of such an organization. Rev. Sr. Mary Aquinas, the founding principal of Holy family nursing school, New Delhi, inaugurated PIANO by lighting the auspicious Indian lamp (Nilavilakku). Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Hon. Ronald D Castille released the by-law of PIANO. Indian consulate of New York head consul P.S Sasikumar, Mayoral candidate Sam Katz,and Sara Gabriel (National Coordinator for Indian Nurses Organization) were also in attendance for the inauguration. Over the years, PIANO has actively supported the nurses in the US and India. PIANO partnered with the American Cancer Society to help administer health screenings of uninsured women of the Asian community. Additionally, PIANO provided community health education on elderly abuse prevention, as well as conducted blood drives, CPR classes, EKG classes, NCLEX review classes, health fair and charity donations. PIANO also worked with the Indian Leadership to improve working conditions for all the Nurses in India. Many media outlets recognized the efforts of this Organization in playing a key role in advocating for better pay and working conditions for nurses in India. The organization has prospered under different Presidents. The initial challenges were overcome by the continuous leadership under Mr. George Nadavayal, Susan Sabu, Bridget Parappurath, Mary Abraham and Lila Mathew. The organization will continue to provide support and cherish the new and current members by standing as a beacon of support to those who need it, especially young nurses of our motherland.