Influence Of Culture On Health Care Practices: How Nurses Can Incorporate Cultural Sensitivity Into Their Practice

1547 words - 6 pages

Current trends of an increasingly multicultural society emphasize the need for nursing education programs that effectively address cultural issues. To understand the diverse cultural backgrounds of clients, nurses must strive to be culturally competent (Marcinkiw 2003). Cultural competence requires the building of cultural awareness, knowledge, skill, encounters, and desire in the nurse. Clients will feel respected, valued, and have a greater desire to achieve mutually agreed upon health care goals if the nurse is culturally competent. The purpose of this essay is designed to show the cultural competence in the nursing profession by providing a guide that is useful for implementing cultural sensitivity in nursing education and practice.Diversity. It is a word that means something different to each and every person. Bacote, 2003 asserts that the changing demographics and economics of our growing multicultural world, and the long-standing disparities in the health status of people from culturally diverse backgrounds has challenged health care providers and organizations to consider cultural diversity as a priority. However, health care providers must realize that addressing cultural diversity goes beyond knowing the values, beliefs, practices and customs (Bacote, 2003). In addition to racial classification and national origin, there are many other faces of cultural diversity. Religious affiliation, language, physical size, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability (both physical and mental), political orientation, socio-economic status, occupational status and geographical location are but a few of the faces of diversity (Bacote, 2003).I would like to share thoughts concerning the complexities involved in caring for people from diverse cultural background; I came from different country myself. My understanding of whole Health care system in Australia was a lot different from past experience in my country of origin. As most foreigners it was just a matter of time before I could get use to the system of medical care. And skills like: listening, understanding, respect for my belief systems and ability to build trust were very important to me. Now I could tell that there is range of cultural behaviors and the need to understand people's actions from their own cultural perspective in health and illness.Cultural values give an individual a sense of direction as well as meaning to life.These values are held on an unconscious level. There is a direct relationship between culture and health practices (Bacote, 2003). In fact, of the many factors that are known to determine health beliefs and behaviors, culture is the most influential (Bacote, 2003).Recently I heard an excellent paper where cultural supervision was discussed (Westerman 2004). There, I become more acutely aware of the importance of cultural differences vis-à-vis Aboriginal societies. Although I had been aware of these differences before, I now came to see that there were many cultural...

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