The United States population has been described as a “melting pot” and continues to increase in diversity. A patient’s culture has a significant influence on how their health care should be provided. It is vital for nurses as health care providers to be culturally competent and knowledgeable of the patient’s culture to deliver appropriate, holistic care (Potter & Perry, 2011). This paper will discuss the Arab culture and focus mainly on what to do and not to do as a nurse rendering care to an Arab patient.
Keywords: culture, holistic, Arab
Nursing Care for the Arab Culture
In any case, providing competent care to a patient of a different culture must first start with an understanding of the culture itself (Potter & Perry, 2011). Culture is not limited to race and ethnicity (Khalifa, 2012). Matusiak (2013) references the U.S. government definition of Arab persons as “those who can trace one of more ancestries to an Arabic-speaking country or region such as the Middle East or Northern Africa.” Over half of the Arab American population are foreign-born immigrants. The government considers “three waves” of Arab immigration from different regions. The first wave included Christians from Lebanon and Syria to the New York and Boston areas between 1887 and 1913. The second wave of immigrant consisted of Palestinians and Muslims in 1948 during the war crisis. These first two waves were comprised of unskilled workers looking for jobs. The third wave of Arab immigrants came in the mid 60’s and were well educated business owners and professionals. The Arab people are a diverse culture encompassing many different religions and practices (Matusiak, 2013). It is vital for nurses to recognize these different practices in order to prevent health disparities and provide the best care possible for the patient. In rendering care to an Arab patient it is important to be aware of how to approach the patient, different religious rituals, and specific dietary restrictions (Potter and Perry, 2011).
More Facts on the Arab Culture
The Arab population is approximately 3 million and is considered the fastest emerging culture in the world (Khlaifa, 2012). Arab people stem from many different regions including 22 countries: Algeria, Bahrain, the Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen ("Arab American," 2014). The Arab culture include several ethnicities such as Shias, Sunni, Druze, Ismalites, and Nusayr (Matusiak, 2013). It is important to know Arabs are not a race, but a diverse culture ("Facts about Arabs," 2014). The Arab people are measured as being among the “most educated” population with a higher percentage of college educations than the American population (Matusiak, 2013). Family is important in the Arab culture. Many Arabs live within close proximity of family and have close relationships ("Arab American,"...