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The Effects of Culture and Ethnicity, Research Paper Example

Pages: 3

Words: 745

Research Paper

The United States is home to representatives of nearly every culture on the planet, making it the most culturally diverse nation in the world.  Approximately one third of the total U.S. population is of minority descent and it is important for nurses to understand that the perception of the causes for illness and disease varies by culture and these differences affect individual approaches to health care (Lowe & Archibald, 2009).  As one of the world’s oldest civilizations, Chinese history reaches back about 3,500 years, and Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and other Asian countries have borrowed from Chinese art, language, literature, religion, and technology (Edmonds & Smith, 2010).  Like many other cultures, the Chinese have specific beliefs regarding health and the treatment of illnesses that may clash with traditional practices of Western medicine.    This discourse will briefly examine how culture has a deep impact on all of aspects of people’s lives and how this impacts their healthcare choices.

There are numerous cultures in the U.S. that do not believe in various forms of medical treatment many Americans think of as common, such as vaccinations, like Buddhists, Hindu’s, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.   There are various reasons why a patient may refuse a myriad of care options and it is important for nurses to be educated on different cultures in order to provide culturally competent care to each patient.  Knowing the beliefs and practices of different cultures is necessary because nurses must develop a plan of care to assist each individual patient according to their wishes.  It is the duty of the nurse to explain all the options available to the patient, listen to their wishes, and create a plan that will honor those wishes according to all known best practices.  The criteria for development of a successful diversity inclusion strategy must ensure that the plan will be effective at overcoming barriers, both real and perceived (Barton & Swider, 2009).

Medical care is frequently a matter of grave concern and a variety of cultures traditionally frown on modern medicine, subscribing to holistic care or their customary methods.  Berns (2010) describes an incidence in which an Asian child arrives at school with red marks on her neck that she says her father put there and the teacher immediately thinks this is a case of child abuse.  She refers the matter to the police only to discover that the child’s father ‘coined’ the child in accordance with their traditional method of curing ailments.  There are numerous cultures in America that focus on the development of the spirit, body, and mind in order to heal illness and achieve the full human potential, ethical standards, harmonious coexistence with one’s surroundings, and reincarnation (Edmonds & Smith, 2010).  It is important for nursing staff to have knowledge of the culturally relevant medicinal practices indigenous to the culture of their patients.

Nurses are required to communicate with colleagues, like doctors and other nurses, as well as patients and their relatives.  Using common language that is familiar and universal within medical practices and being able to coherently explain these concepts to patients and their relatives will reduce the probability that the nurse will be misunderstood or their message will be interpreted incorrectly. Open disclosure is also meant to offer supervision to diminish the risk of repetition of health problems by using available details, allowing enhancement and support of social awareness regarding health care safety.  As a provision of the nurse’s duty of care, informed consent aims to avoid blame and focus on fostering an environment conducive to the provisioning of best nursing practices (Tabak & Zvi, 2008).  Fulfillment of a nurse’s duty of care also includes obtaining clarification about treatments or procedures that could potentially perform more harm than good to the patient and making sure to honor their requests, whether they are culturally derived or not (Tabak & Zvi, 2008).

References

Barton, A.J. & Swider, S.M. (2009). Creating diversity in a Baccalaureate nursing program: A case study. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 6(1) Article 14, pp.1-14, doi: 10.2202/1548-923X.1700. Retrieved from http://www.bepress.com/ijnes/vol6/iss1/art14

Berns, R.M. (2010). Child, family, school, community: Socialization and support (8th ed.). Belmont, CA. Cengage.

Edmonds, R. L. & Smith, R. J. (2010). China. World Book Advanced. World Book, 2010. Retrieved from http://www.worldbookonline.com/advanced/article?id=ar111400&st=chinese+culture

Lowe, J. & Archibald, C. (January-March 2009). Cultural diversity: The intention of nursing. Nursing Forum, 44(1), pp.11-18.

Tabak, N. & Zvi, M.R. (2008, March-May). When parents refuse a sick teenager the right to give informed consent: the nurse’s role. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 25(3), pp. 106-111. Retrieved from http://www.ajan.com.au/Vol25/AJAN_25-3_Tabak.pdf

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