Nursing, as well as any other fields, requires interaction between the patient and the nurse. Since the case is like this, a nurse is expected to be able to cope up with the needs of the patients and be able to understand where they are coming from at the same time. Herein lies the problem of transcultural nursing where a nurse is assigned to a patient outside his/her own cultural inclination. Being a nurse requires adept skills at identifying with his/her patients without discrimination of the differences in opinion.
Caring for patients outside the nurse’s cultural realm has the tendency to marginalize and differentiate the cultures, including unprofessional categorizing of people belonging to a different sect. Some of these sects are religion, ethnicity, race and beliefs. As mentioned earlier, this is not professional—one should not label another person due to his/her beliefs and inclinations. This paper is focused on different religions and what this difference does to the interaction between the nurse and the patient.
Hinduism, the only surviving religion with a close system wherein one is born to his caste and cannot be reassigned to another caste unless he is reborn, believes that inter-cultural activities should not be patronized because the soul is easily infiltrated with impurities and imperfections transmitted through interaction with other castes. However, the Hindu nurse that I had interviewed is open for patients that are not Hindu. This he accepted rather than treating the outcastes, or as they called it the “pollution of society”. He had the firm belief that if he were to treat what they called scum, then he would be infected.
The same case does not apply to patients from other religions because they do not belong to any caste. For him it is important for the patient to be able to understand his religion and do not try to challenge it by asking him to treat people against his will. He thinks having the decision on whether to treat a patient should be respected. Buddhism is not plagued with the same problem because their religion actually implies for them to be open for change and be adaptable to others. Buddhists are inclined to believe that what one has is because of what he has done and what he has to do to keep it.
Buddha had been born of a noble family who had seen the hardships in life. Due to this, the Buddhist principle seeks to avoid discrimination. The Buddhist patient that had been interviewed was open to be treated with any nurse from any religion as long as the nurse acts acceptable and the nurse accepts their differences without grudge. The important key to a successful partnership for him is the acceptance of their differences and making extra efforts to work harmoniously with each other. On the part of the patient, he is willing to sacrifice and expects that his nurse is professional enough to be able to do the same.