Cultural Sensitivity & Effective Care
The leaders in the sphere of nursing around the globe recognize the growing need of culturally sensitive approach in caring for people, due to globalization, migration, and travel. It is especially relevant to North American populations where immigrants from different cultures are a significant part of the population. Culturally sensitive nursing recognizes different cultural values. It aims to provide individualized approach in clinical practices sensitive to cultural differences, taboos, and appropriate conducts of behavior.As an effective caregiver, culturally sensitive nurse possesses understanding, knowledge, competence and skill in culturally diverse patients.
It is important to understand that when it comes to nursing, the difference between cultures may lay in a different set of behaviors, ways of thinking, and responses, all of which need an individualistic approach when caring for patients.
The Culture Care Theory
Culture care theory is one of the leading theories that guides nurses in preparation for caring for patients from different ethnic backgrounds. It aims to provide a culture specific approach, yet it remains broad and holistic. Its main principles include the following as per Leininger (2002) :
- It is the most holistic theory among all the proposed theories on the subject,
- This theory focuses on the dynamics between culture and health, illness and death,
- Is concerned with comparative culture care,
- Aims to discover culture-specific best practices,
- Seeks universal commonalities and differences in nursing care practice,
- Suggests action models in order to deliver culturally congruent care,
- The theory encompasses data gathered on social structure, worldview, and ethnohistory
Impact on Health and Wellness
Without adequate preparation, nurses face scenarios in which they are not able to provide interventions that are culturally appropriate and competent. Some of the roots behind these studies stem from the patients in healthcare that hold different perspectives on health and illness, which diverge across cultures. As a matter of fact, different cultural beliefs have health-specific outcomes (Salman et al. 2007). Nurses who are prepared for scenarios in diverse cultural environments are able to provide much more effective interventions, generally provide better care to individuals, as well as impact their well-being and recovery from illnesses.
How You Can Contribute to Cultural Awareness
One of the biggest challenges in culturally sensitive nursing is that there has not been a universal method developed in putting these studies into practice (Giger 2016). The complexity of inter dynamics between different cultures of nurses and patients also comes into play when constructing these models. Obviously, individuality within any culture needs to be attended to in the first place.
Current areas of improvement in North American nursing lay in implementing a more rigorous educational curricula that has not been universally adapted. Lack of education among nurses and lack of skills in the nurse staffing is a barrier towards a homogenous culturally competent nursing care (Salman et al. 2007). Nurses under our umbrella understand these challenges and take great efforts to overcome them, by exposing themselves to different scenarios and learning from them as much as possible. Different associations, such as Transcultural Nursing Society, and American Nurses Association Council on Cultural Diversity serve as advocates in American society to expand the practice of transcultural nursing. Providing training to nurses in attending to cultural minorities is integral to maintaining a healthy society and providing best possible nursing care.
While it’s important for the nursing industry to continuously study the subject, input from the patient and their family is just as important. These conversations have been opened. Multiple public organizations that advocate for culturally sensitive nursing care hold open conferences and welcome public input. Whether it’s a global or national scale issue that you feel you need to voice, or just an individual case that may contribute to these studies, you should be compelled to participate in this much needed conversation on culturally sensitive nursing.
Heller, T., Gibbons, H. M., & Fisher, D. (2015). Caregiving and family support interventions: Crossing networks of aging and developmental disabilities. Intellectual and developmental disabilities, Vol. 53, No. 5,pp. 329-345.
Giger, J. N. (2016). Transcultural nursing: Assessment and intervention. Los Angeles, CA: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Leininger, Madeleine (2002) Culture Care Theory: A Major Contribution to Advance Transcultural Nursing Knowledge and Practices. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp.189-192.
Salman, A., McCabe, D., Easter, T., Callahan, B., Goldstein, D., Smith, D., White, T., & Fitzpatrick, J. J. (2007). Cultural competence among staff nurses who participated in a family-centered geriatric care program. Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, Vol. 23, No. 3, 103-111.