One of the first elements that lead to culturally sensitive health care is the performance of self reflection by the nurse involved. Self reflection involves the assessment of one’s own cultural milieu and the values, norms, expectations and biases contained within it (College of Nurses, 2005). When providing care within one’s own cultural community, one must be careful to note these qualities and make an effort to fulfill the needs of one’s patients regarding these areas.
It must also be noted that when a nurse shares a similar culture with the person being cared for, it is easy to become complacent in one’s cultural awareness. However, the nurse must be careful not to make assumptions about an individual based on the idea of a shared culture. Allowing persons to preserve their individuality through affording them choices and communicating with them is also a form of culturally sensitive care (2005). Self reflection leads to other forms of cultural reflection that can be of immense help in creating a culturally sensitive health care environment.
Such reflection allows the nurse to detect any biases that he or she might have toward a certain cultural group or aggregate within that group. Once these biases have been detected and understood, the nurse is now able to make adjustments in order to improve his or her behavior toward people of certain cultures. Measures should be taken to improve one’s understanding of different cultures, and this involves theoretical research as well as getting to know real persons who are members of these various cultures.
This will have an effect not just on how the nurses are able to make clients comfortable, but also on how well nurses are able to promote clients’ understanding of the information that is being passed on to them. This may involve language translation, the removal of cultural biases from certain forms of treatment, or other adjustments that make culturally sensitive material more acceptable to the client (College of Nurses, 2005). Reference CNO.
(2005). Practice guideline: culturally sensitive care. College of Nurses of Ontario. Retrieved Nov.
28, 2007 from http://www. cno. org/docs/prac/41040_CulturallySens. pdf