What is meant by culturally sensitive nursing care? How does it apply to nursing? In order to understand culturally sensitive nursing care you must first understand culture and cultural diversity. Culture guides our thinking, doing and being, and becomes patterned expressions of who we are (Basic Nursing, 2003). Cultural diversity is the difference between people rooted in a shared belief and value system based on norms, customs and way of life. Knowledge of cultural diversity is important in all levels of nursing because it comes through communication and education between clients and nurses.
Culturally sensitive nursing care recognizes the need for respect and acknowledgement of the wholeness of all human beings, regardless of culture, race, ethnicity, heritage, religion – everyone has a unique background. Culturally sensitive nursing care is a required factor that must be practiced. It is significant in order to care and understand importance to the patient, resulting in comfort for the family as well as the patient. This also increases the chance of compliance and eases the passage for family and friends.Providing the necessary care is not the only value to a strong outcome, but communication and developing a strong client/nurse relationship must be practiced to ensure a positive outcome. Culturally sensitive nursing care may possibly be difficult for some to practice, but it makes healthcare challenging and rewarding. Health to an individual of any culture, ethnicity or race, is viewed as a positive outcome, balanced environment, and strong lifestyle. Regardless of the illness, everyone wants the same outcome.
Health practices such as nutrition, diet, exercise and environment are all believed to be practices which are beneficial and have a positive effect on an individual. Perceptions of benefits can differ between cultures. A practice which is important to someone of a different culture can be less important to us, but have beneficially results. Cultural health practices also must be respected and not ignored, since it’s important to the client. Cultural practices can be divided into three categories – beneficial, neutral, or harmful.Beneficial are practices, that are viewed as effective to the clients health, though they can vastly stray from modern scientific procedures varying from culture to culture. Encouragement of these cultural activities ensures understanding and respect between client and nurse while continuing to provide beneficial care to the patient.
Neutral health practices are those that have no effect on the patient. Although they have no effect physically, it is important to remember cultural diversity and that to the client it is important and believed to be aiding their recovery.Harmful practices must be aware of and closely watched. If the client does not want to participate in an examination, they must be made aware of the risks that they are facing, as well as the benefits of the procedure while maintaining respect for the client’s wishes throughout the discussion. Overall, the health practices of different cultures and races must be respected and incorporated into clients care plan, as requested. Every individual is culturally unique.
An important step in practicing culturally sensitive nursing care is to be aware of and overcome stereotypes.Stereotyping is the assumption that all people of similar races or cultures are alike and share the same values and beliefs (Basic Nursing, 2003). An example of this is assuming that all African-American people are thieves because one robbed you. Stereotypes are based on the misunderstanding of culture. Communicating with the client and learning their specific background and beliefs, while practicing respect, can be a great step in overcoming or even preventing stereotyping altogether. It is critical that nurses understand and recognize individual differences and do not participate in cultural stereotyping.In today’s society, nurses will come in contact with many cultures and races, all with different needs and backgrounds.
Culture influences how feelings are expressed and what verbal or non verbal expressions are appropriate. Communication is the main step in overcoming barriers like language, trust or lack there of, and prejudices. Sensitivity to communication patterns of different cultures is needed to assess and intervene in caring for your client. What one person may consider as sexist or racist, may actually be based on a misunderstanding of the culture.It is important to learn the background of your client’s culture to avoid such misunderstandings. Promoting communication between the nurse and the client prove to gain a competitive edge in your interaction. There are many strategies that can be performed to gain this edge. Treating all your clients with dignity and respect; asking questions about themselves, their family, their history; asking the clients personal preferences – all these strategies promote getting to know the patient.
Without developing a personal relationship you are not easily able to communicate which could severely hinder the treatment needed to save a life.Other strategies to avoid a communication barrier include listening to the patient – they need to be comfortable to progress healing and recovery. Do not label, stereotype or talk down to a person. Recognizing and avoiding these things will promote communication, as well as a caring relationship.
Health and illness are universal conditions experienced uniquely by each individual (Transcultural Nursing, 1989). No matter what race, ethnicity, or culture that the patient practices, they all have the right to acquire culturally competent nursing care.Recognizing cultural diversity, integrating cultural knowledge and acting in an appropriate manner enables nurses to be more effective in assessing and saving the client’s life. Nurses who are culturally diverse understand that there are many forms of knowledge and different ways of knowing. Bibliography : BIBLIOGRAPHY • Potter, P.
, & Perry, A. (2003). Basic Nursing: Essentials for Practice.
St. Louis: Mosby Inc. • Jensen, J. (1999, October 29).
Culturally Sensitive Nursing Care: Seek first to Understand. The Ottawa Citizen, p. A2. Walter, R.
(1989). Transcultural Nursing: A Basic Guide. Toronto: Roxon Books Inc.