The United States has been, and is, a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. As
nurses, we must be able to provide competent care by incorporating our patient's cultural
beliefs and practices into their plan of care. The Hispanic population is now the largest
and fastest growing culture in the our country. All across the United States, cities, towns,
and rural areas not known for Hispanic populations have experienced a sharp increase in
the last decade. From the 2010 census, over the past 10 years the Latino population has
increased from 35.3 million in 2005 to 50.5 million in 2010. As the U.S. population
continues to age, so does the Hispanic; in 2000, older Hispanics ...view middle of the document...
Many Hispanics have
cultural beliefs and values that conflict with traditional western health care views, which
leads to a failure to access care. For example, the Hispanic belief that physical and mental
illness is a result of the imbalance between person and environment, and hot and cold.
Without the ability to understand and communicate, some Hispanics are less
likely to understand or take advantage of preventative measures, such as pap smears,
breast exams, and physical, dental, and eye checkups. This can even lead to a continued
decline of health habits and status the longer the stay in the United States is, and each
succeeding generation will have a lowered health status.
Hispanic women are more committed to the well-being of the family than they are
to their own health, but unlike a majority of women, Hispanic women focus only on the
health of the husband and children, and almost totally disregard their own. When a family
member is diagnosed with a disease, many accept it as a judgement or punishment for
something they have done; as a good wife and mother, they must not complain, but accept
the illness. Hispanic males, due to their culture, tend to be much more stoic - they may
complain of a headache or stomachache, but the symptoms are a result of family situation
or other issue rather than an illness. The Hispanic male is highly prone to stress, being
separated from wife and children while trying to support them financially.
Nurses will be often times the first health care provider that comes into direct care
with Hispanics. One way to address this is to increase the number of Spanish-speaking
nurses so that...