With the large increase multicultural population in the United States, nurses encounter patients with differences in healthcare beliefs, values and customs. To provide adequate nursing care, nurses must be aware of these differences. They must respect and acknowledge the patient’s culture. To do this, nurses need education on cultural competence to ensure patient satisfaction and better patient outcomes.
According to Migration Policy institute, the Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey, the US immigrant population was 38,517,234, or 12. percent of the total US population. They also state that nearly one-quarter of the 7. 9 million children under 17 in 2009 had at least one immigrant parent. It is important to note that these numbers are on the rise. Due to these rapidly increasing numbers, nurses need to be culturally competent. Culturally competent nurses recognize their own background and sets aside biases and prejudices. They also value diversity and have the ability to appreciate cultural differences.
Culturally competent nurses are able to work with people from diverse cultures, care for them while being aware of their culture patterns. Culturally competent nurses also need to have good communication skills and be efficient in performing cultural assessments (http://currentnursing. com/nursing_theory/transcultural_nursing. html, 2012). A little bit of history: Madeleine Leininger is the founder of the theory of transcultural nursing, also known as the Culture Care Theory. In 1950 while working with children, she recognized an absence of cultural and care knowledge.
According to Leininger, this missing piece was the key for nurses to comprehend differences in patient care to sustain compliance, healing and wellness. These perceptions established the beginnings of what is today called transcultural nursing. Transcultural nursing is one of the oldest theories that acknowledge the diverse cultures of the world. It pointed out the need for culturally competent nursing. Transcultural nursing helps understand similarities and differences between cultures. (Leininger, 1978).
When culturally competent nurses interact with other cultures, they observe how members of the culture communicate, watching for verbal and non-verbal cues. Eye contact is important to identify. For some cultures direct eye contact is not polite. Touch for some cultures is prohibited. If needed, nurses should explain the reason for touching the patient before proceeding. In some cultures males cannot be caregivers of females. Silence doesn’t always mean miscommunication or patient apathy. For some cultures is a positive non-verbal cue or a sign of respect or agreement.
Space and distance is very important when providing care. Patients can place themselves close or far from the nurse based on their culture. Healthcare beliefs also vary from cultures. Some cultures are compliant with cares while others may not be very cooperative. Based on these observations, nurses can plan their plan of care based on the patient’s needs (Maier-Lorentz, 2008 Journal Of Cultural Diversity). Nurses also need to observe pain non-verbal cues, food preferences, family arrangements and general norms and interactions.
To be a successful culturally competent nurse, nurses should assume attitudes to promote transcultural care. Nurses need to be aware of their patient’s cultural differences – taking time to understand and value patient’s cultural needs and perspectives. Nurses should show respect and concern for patients. Nurses should also be empathic with their patients. Nurses need to be brief but accurate with their assessment identifying patient’s perspectives and wishes. Pain assessment is a very important portion of the assessment. Cultures manifest pain different.
Also, if the cultural patterns don’t convey patient’s health needs, nurses needs to reassess and try different health approaches. To wrap up, with the increasing number of patients of different cultural backgrounds, nurses will encounter patients with diversities in health care beliefs, values and custom. Nurses must be aware of their personal beliefs. Nurses need to have skills and expose themselves to different cultures. Nurses need to understand, respect and respect patient’s cultural preferences to ensure patient satisfaction and better patient outcomes.