Search
Advice » In the Workplace» Workplace Issues » Five Tips for Culturally Compet ...
Five Tips for Culturally Competent Nursing

Five Tips for Culturally Competent Nursing

Many nurses might regard a patient who refuses to take a certain medication, constantly has a roomful of visitors or demands that a family member feed him as noncompliant. However, nurses who dig deeper may discover these behaviors are a product of the patient's cultural beliefs and values -- deep-rooted ideologies that nurses can preserve or accommodate.

"To be a true patient advocate, a nurse needs to be culturally aware," says Sue Hasenau, RN, MSN, a certified neonatal nurse practitioner and member of the TransCultural Nursing Society.

Providing effective, sensitive healthcare for patients of other cultures requires empathy, flexibility and a commitment to continuous learning. How can nurses successfully work with and care for the nation's increasingly diverse patient population? Here are some general guidelines:

Don't Make Assumptions

Patients from other parts of the world may experience entirely different medical issues than US patients. Gihan ElGindy, RN, MSN, executive director of the TransCultural Educational Center in McLean, Virginia, learned this firsthand when she developed a breast-cancer awareness program for recent immigrants from areas in Africa, the Middle East and Asia that are virtually cancer-free. While many of the 500 women in the program had never heard of breast cancer, their risk level increases the longer they live in the US. "Our American literature says these groups of women are ignorant or don't comply," ElGindy says. "But why [would] they have to know about cancer if it doesn't exist in their countries?"

Explain Every Detail

Healthcare jargon is especially difficult for people whose native language is not English. The women in the breast-cancer program, for instance, had "no clue about the American terminology we use but were too shy to say they didn't understand," ElGindy relates. For example, when one of the questions on ElGindy's initial survey asked, "Do you have Medicare or Medicaid?" some respondents assumed that Medicaid and Medicare were forms of cancer.

Ask About Alternative Approaches to Healing

Many people from other cultures seek herbal remedies from traditional healers, says medical anthropologist Geri-Ann Galanti, PhD, author of Caring for Patients from Different Cultures and founder of the Web site Cultural Diversity in Healthcare. Some herbal remedies may be harmful or interact poorly with Western medicine, so it's especially important that nurses ask about these alternative treatments.

Withhold Judgments

The role of the family differs greatly by culture. Whereas Americans value the nuclear family, most Asians and Hispanics place more value on the extended family, Galanti notes. In those cultures, the patient's extended family members show their love -- or fulfill their duty -- by visiting. "This often creates problems for nurses who don't understand why so many visitors are there all the time," Galanti says. "Whenever possible, it is best to accommodate these visitors."

Another common cultural misunderstanding involves self-care. Believing that it is important for a patient to feed and bathe himself and perform other activities of daily living on his own "is merely a reflection of the American value of independence -- a value that is not shared by most other cultures," Galanti explains. "Instead, most cultures value interdependence, as demonstrated by family members taking care of each other when ill." For that reason, nurses should not insist on self-care unless it is crucial to the patient's physical recovery, she advises.

Accommodate and Educate

Whatever the patient's cultural background, the health provider and patient both want the patient to return to the best state of health possible. According to Hasenau, sometimes a nurse can help patients preserve their beliefs and values within the American medical model; other times, the nurse can teach patients why new techniques or technologies that are antithetical to their beliefs are required for their recovery.

ElGindy, who is Muslim, says devout Muslims may reject medications that contain alcohol (like cough syrup) or that are made with pork (like insulin). In nonemergency situations, health providers can usually find alternatives to treatments that contradict patients' beliefs, ElGindy says. Making these small accommodations can have big payoffs for patients' emotional well-being.

To deliver truly culturally competent care, "we have to look at where our patients are coming from and what their ideas of wellness and illness are," Hasenau says.

Latest Jobs

R&J TRUCKING
Posted: 10/25/2014
Huntington, 25701
Posted: 10/25/2014
Huntington, 25701
LAMBDA CONSTRUCTION I LTD
Posted: 10/25/2014
Harlingen, 78550
Posted: 10/25/2014
Princeton, IL, 61356
Parent Petroleum
Posted: 10/25/2014
Princeton, IL, 61356

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.65.72-224
eTrustLogo