We live in a country of culturally diversity. To provide the highest quality of care to our patients we need to be culturally competent nurses (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2008, ¶ 2). Using the Heritage Assessment Tool as a guideline I interviewed three families. The first was my own of Russian heritage, the second a colleague with a strong Chinese heritage, and the third a young single mother with a Hispanic heritage. These interviews gave me an insight into their views on health maintenance, protection and restoration. All three cultures had both similarities and differences.
In the interviews with three culturally different families, an assessment was focused on the strength of their heritage and views on health and illness. Three specific areas of discussion were health maintenance, health protection, and health restoration.
Health Maintenance is defined as a plan to promote health, preserve maximum function, and to prevent illness (freedictionary.com, n.d., p. 1). Health protection is best defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A goal of the CDC is disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion. (New World Encyclopedia, 2008, p. 1). Health restoration is the process of the person recovering from an illness or situation and achieving optimum health.
The first interview that I completed was my family. My mother is Russian and my dad’s was of German heritage. My dad’s parents were both dead prior to my birth of all of my siblings. My mother’s parents were born in Russia and came to the United States as a married couple. My grandfather died before I was born, however my grandmother had a long and healthily life. My grandmother was a typical Russian woman; she was small in stature but tough as nails.
Health maintenance was an important part of my family’s values. My mother said this came from my Russian heritage. My grandmother did not believe in processed foods. She felt if we ate correctly we would stay healthy. That is what she learned as a child in Russia. Our family grew up eating fresh fruits and vegetables that were either grow in our backyard or purchased from local farms.
Health protection was promoted in our family. Our parents stressed the importance of vaccinations and disease prevention. In addition they we careful to minimize chemicals in the house and yard.
Childhood illness did not result into trips to the doctors. To restore you health it took time. We were taught to be tough, and follow my grandmother’s philosophy of treating the symptoms with fluids and rest.
My family has a cultural connection that has been passed down by my grandmother. We have taken on Russian traits of being strong and nutritional eating.
The second assessment and interview was with a colleague’s family. They are a young couple from Taiwan, who are now citizens of the United States. This couple has a strong Chinese heritage. The rest of...