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Death And Dying In The Somali Culture

1344 words - 5 pages

Culturally competent cares in the medical field can make a huge difference in the satisfaction and the healing of patients who are guests in the facilities that we will be at. In central Minnesota we have the privilege of having many different cultures in a small area. With many people immigrating here from their homeland it is important, as health care professionals, to have an understanding of the many different beliefs and traditions that we may come across in our personal and professional lives.
The Somali population has seen a significant rise in the number of individuals that are now living in central Minnesota. Most of the Somali population is of the Islamic faith. I would like to explain some of the differences in the Islamic beliefs and traditions on death and dying, why it is important to know about the differences, and what we can do it help ensure that we do not impede on the beliefs when we are talking care of individuals of the Islamic faith.
Family is very important in the Somali social structure. Their family lineage is only based on the paternal side. “Traditionally, the father has been the decision-maker and wage earner for the family. He interacts with society outside of the home.”(Children’s) When interacting with a Somali family it is appropriate to direct the questions to the male if he is present, if not, and asking or explaining information about children, the mother can be addressed because she is the one responsible for the upbringing of the children. Elders are respected in the community and it is customary to address them as aunt or uncle, even if they are not related. Because of this it is very important to make sure that they are responsible for the person if emergency consent is needed.
Death in the Islamic religion is viewed as a transition from one state to another. It is believed that the life on earth is a test, the afterlife is where you will “reap the fruit of one’s endeavors on earth” (Sheikh). So a life close to Allah while on earth will bring an afterlife close to Allah as well. That is mostly why death is not resisted but accepted as a part of life in the Islamic faith. This attitude toward death is a bit different than the thinking of a majority of the individuals in the area. Many fear death and do not want to accept that life will eventually end, even with the promise of meeting their savior once they pass.
Depending on the field that the nurse works in, interacting with a dying individual may or may not happen. If a person is taking care of a dying individual it is important to know some basic etiquette so that the person or their family will not be offended by any actions of the staff. It is customary to address the family of the dying person instead of directly telling the person that their time is almost done, though it is ok to tell the patient the seriousness of their illness. (Children’s) the family then can inform the person in their own way. It would be ideal for the person to be able...

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