The world over, nations are inhabited by people with different cultures. Cultures comprises of shared symbols which one passed down from one generation to another. People’s culture has a great influence in how they perceive their environment and the people around them. Culture dictates the decisions people make thus it has a great impact on people’ day-to-day interactions. A people culture constitutes peoples way of life, peoples religion, language, social life, political, societal beliefs and values among others (Loewy, 2004)
In hospitals and other health centers, nurses have to deliver health care to patients. Both out patients and in patients (casualties) come from different cultures and have different cultural beliefs and values. For instance, in the United States of America, there are a diversified people with a diverse culture especially in rural America. Some of the cultural groups living in America include Asians, Americans, blacks, Hispania’s, non-Hispania (Latinos) among other minor immigrant groups. America ancestors came from different cultures.
The United States of America is among the nations inhabited by people of diverse cultures (Samova et al, 2006) Diversities in culture pose a great challenge to health care personnel’s like nurses, clinical officers, and doctors among other key attendants in health institutions. Hospitals are humanistic institutions and they offer health services to the best interest of patients, whether they are private or public institutions. As a result health care attendants especially nurses are faced with the challenge of exercising cultural sensitivity in their everyday services of attending to casualties (Sign&Leiyushi, 2004)
Being among one of the richest and developed nations of the world, the united states of America invests a lot of money in ensuring that healthcare is provided to all citizens. For instance, in Cuba healthcare is provided at no cost to citizens. This depicts the emphasis the government puts on its peoples’ health. Thus, in the united states of America, nurses practice cultural sensitivity by the way they talk to casualties, by treating them a number of ways in an effort to be culture sensitive (Thomas, 2004)
Nurses have to be sensitive of the way they converse with patients. Different patients’ from different cultures advocate for varying conversational styles. Different cultures dictate that people should use certain phrases, while expression or symbols while others don’t dictate so. For instance, certain culture dictate that young people should not be the first to initiate a conversation, say by a form greeting while for others like the Muslims the idea of a young one greeting an elder is quite okay.
Nurses should therefore be sensitive of patients’ cultural backgrounds since the way they converse with a patient can affect the patient. This is because patients want to feel that their cultures are respected. Failure to respect a patient’s culture can hinder a patient’s recovery since a patient needs to trust the nurse who is administering healthcare to him/her (Madeleign et al, 2006) Nurses should learn to be sensitive to patients cultural believes on issues like eye contact. In Afghanistan culture, women are not allowed to look men into the eyes and when people do so it should be occasional.
For other cultures, failure to look into the eyes can be misinterpreted as a sign of disrespect, mistrust, fear, lack of confidence among other misconceptions. Nurses should therefore be sensitive of people’s cultures on the issue of eye contact. This will help boost the relationship between nurses and casualties if well addressed and may improve a casualty’s recovery (Monagle&Thomasma, 2004). Certain cultures in the United States of America dictate that people should be given space by not interfering with their private lives.
People from certain cultures like keeping to themselves and may not feel irritated when people interrogate them in an effort to want to know their family backgrounds, personal life’s and any other life aspects. While people from other cultures may be very much at ease opening up their personal life to nurses who are perfect strangers. Thus, nurses should learn to be sensitive to peoples’ cultures (Verney, 2003) In some cultures especially Africa cultures, a male should not come into close conduct with a female since this is considered as a form of sexual harassment to a casualty.
While for the white people kissing or pecking is considered to be perfectly alright since it is a form of showing love, affection or empathy. Nurses should therefore be sensitive of peoples believes and perceptions on close body contacts (Verney, 2003) Nurses should also be sensitive to casualties’ religious customs. In some cultures, people believe in supernatural forces/spiritual powers, which have the power to heal. Thus certain religious customs may indicate prayer intersession for sick people, use of oil fragrances. Nurses should be sensitive on such customs.
Although, adhering to such customs by casualties can affect routine administration of allopathic medicines, prohibing a patient from following the cultural practice can be the cause of a major conflict since the patient can disagree with his family (Btan, 2003) For instance, Muslims dictate that its faithfuls should pray twice in a day facing Mecca. Failure to do this by a patient whose condition is not critical can result to conflict with his or her family. Other cultures forbid use of certain medications, surgical procedures, post-mortem, blood products like beef, pork, and mutton etc, surgical procedures among others.
Nurses should therefore have in mind a patient’s cultural background. Thus nurses should not force casualties to take medication or go through clinical tests or procedures, which are against their cultures (Monica et al, 2005) Nurses should also be sensitive of certain aspects of people’s cultures like time and dominance patterns, in some communities especially in the white culture, time is taken very seriously. Most casualties are very keen on time and a delay may make a patient loose confidence in a nurse.
Nurses should learn to administer medications prescribed for casualties on time. In some cultures, like Afghanistan, men are the dominant groups and they dictate their women folk and children. Nurses should therefore be sensitive on such cultures when administering healthcare. (Btan, 2003) In addition, nurse’s sensitivity on people’s culture will help in effective healthcare since studies reveal that there are certain epidemiological characteristics of certain racial or cultural groups. Nurses are expected to be aware of such characteristics when administering healthcare.
For instance, among the African Americans in the United States, there has been a higher report of hypertension (Btan, 2003) In conclusion, nurses should learn to be sensitive of casualties’ cultural values and beliefs. Patients are very vulnerable and nurses should not take advantage of the situation. Nurses should know that for them to be able to administer effective healthcare to patients, they need to make the casualties feel that they are respected. The only way to do this is by respecting their culture since culture is what makes a person.
This will help establish and maintain trust and confidence between the two parties thus boosting the administration of effective health care. Respecting people’s culture is the only way to effective healthcare. Reference: Bran (2003) advanced topics in Global Information Management Idea Group Inc (IGI) Holuns (2006) care for patients in multicultural society, Radcliff publishers (72-80) Loewy (2004) the textbook of healthcare ethics; Springer Loewy (309-13) Madeleine, Leininger, Marilyn and Farland (2006) culture care diversity and universality, John and Bartlett publishers (331-40)
Monagee and Thomas (2004) healthcare ethics: critical issue for the 21st century, John and Bartlett publishers (537-45) Monica, McGoldrick, Joseph, Giordand, Nyala. Prector (2005) ethnicity and family therapy, Guilford press (330-339) Samova Et Al (2006) intercultural communication, McDaniel (390-398) Sign and Leigushi (2004) Delivery Healthcare in America, Jones and Bartlett publishers (507-511) Thomas (2003) society and health: sociology for health professional (277-81) Verney (2003) African Americans and US popular culture, Routledge (62-69)