Cultural and Ethinic Considerations in Nursing

  1. 1
    Hi everyone,

    I am a Level IV nursing student and I am in the process of doing a research/change paper. I have chosen the topic of Cultural/Ethinic Considerations in Nursing. I need a little input to determine if this idea would be of help or just another pain for everyone.

    In the recent years and during nursing school we have been taught that due to the changing diversity of cultures and ethnicities in our communities that we as nurses have to know and take into consideration the differences concerning healthcare, religion, food preferences, and other things that we ourselves may not have any knowledge about all these different patients.

    My idea is to implement a database that would give the information to all personnel in a facility about the different cultures, ethnicities, and religious preferences.

    Would it be a benefit to you if when you received a new patient you were given a specific list for that patient with prompt questions so you would have a better understanding of their beliefs, customs, and religious restrictions? As an example: Kosher Jewish; I understand that dairy and meats are not suppose to be served together or that the two should never have been put on the same plates. If this is true this questionaire would provide that information and it could be forwarded to Nutrition services so they could serve this patient's food on disposable trays and cultery.

    Would this help or would you feel that it was just more paperwork to fill out?

    I recently heard an interesting story about Gypsies in the Houston Texas area. Every year they converge on the medical center downtown and camp on the lawns for several weeks. If anyone of them become a patient they will place a pile of dirt under the bed because they believe that their illness must be passed into the soil to be healed. It is the nursing staffs responsibility to make sure that housekeeping does not remove that dirt until that patient is discharged. None of my faculty had ever heard of this either and that was one of the reasons I decided to research and develop a database to provide this information to help nurses and other medical personnel.

    Please let me know your opinion very soon. I am working on this paper this week and have to turn it in on March 23rd.

    Thanks everyone.
    leslie :-D likes this.
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  3. 26 Comments so far...

  4. 4
    You have a good idea! That info could be part of every health systems intranet for ease of employee access.

    Look at http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Faith-Tools/index.aspx for inspiration.
  5. 8
    Frankly, I think catering to every wacky, superstitious belief is opening up Pandora's box. If someone has an unusual need or belief, whether it's culturally based or not, they need to communicate it clearly to the staff and not expect the hospital to know every little cultural nuance under the sun. To expect every nurse to guard some dirt under the bed is going above and beyond the call of duty. And please don't give us another form to fill out to satisfy the smug sociologists who cook this stuff up from within the hallowed halls of academia.
  6. 2
    Tx, My opinion like a "smug sociologist" and nurse and closed to patient satisfaction, loooool, much more than MY own cushion job well paid, is YES, is a nice study, good to be applied if a open mind manager will see it. And I will tell why...

    IF I will be your patient and if my cultural background and my etnicity will be respected by your facility and your employe know how to talk with me, knowing my background I will come back each time. If not, I truly belived that I will found somewhere else...

    And I will give you an exemple, people who belong to one culture...... deaf culture like, LGBT culture, like gipsy culture, like punk subculture and many others has their own values (hided or not). Much more many of them could respond or not of the questions related of them culture. Many of them even not identify them self like part of that culture, are hided. But others are out of the box and is easy, to keep them contents.

    If you will ever try to talk about heaven and confession with a gay what do you think that he/she will do next time when she will need medical care....loool.

    Or if you will put a gipsy in isolation for MRSA, and not alowed any one in contact with him many days... what do you think that will be happen, next time.

    Or if a old hippy one that usually smoke pot from his young times and you will try to keep him on ativan and pain meds just to make him helaty...lool

    Or related etnicity...is the same...just nice, nice nice..very related to patient satisfaction

    Is a soo nice study..... "five a clock tea" is another etnicity related one... sir, madame.. a lot, looooool. My opinion try it! If you will know how to expose your ideea, related to patient satisfaction, sure you will find a open mind for implementation!
    Good luck!
    txwildflower57 and leslie :-D like this.
  7. 2
    You could sum this "class" up in about 10 seconds. Treat others how you would want to be treated. There you go, A for the day. Seriously, this kind of ****** is why new grads have to go through hospital orientation programs to learn how to be a nurse. If Nursing Educators really want to be teaching this cultural diversity crap then they should at least cover useful topics...such as pharmacokinetic/dynamic differences that are apparent among different races, why some classes of meds work on one group and not well on another. At least you could apply that to nursing. Actually, that would be a helpful database for you to put together. You could probably even get it written up in the ANA journal.
    Last edit by sirI on Mar 15, '09
    KeyMaster and txwildflower57 like this.
  8. 8
    Quote from RedCell
    You could sum this "class" up in about 10 seconds. Treat others how you would want to be treated. There you go, A for the day.
    How you want to be treated is based upon your culture. Those from other cultures may want to be treated differently.
  9. 2
    I don't know that it would work because even if a person identifies with a particular religious group, that doesn't mean their practices are the same. For example, if a person is Jewish, they don't necessarily keep Kosher. Those that keep kosher do so to different degrees. I know a rabbi who keeps Kosher, but will eat chicken with dairy because chicken is a bird, not meat. Other rabbis would freak out if you tried serving them chicken and milk. Other Jews consider themselves Kosher because they are vegetarians or vegans. Some Jews simply don't eat forbidden meats (pork or shellfish), and they consider that kosher-style.

    I think an individual plan of care will be the most appropriate.
    txwildflower57 and zuzi like this.
  10. 4
    Quote from multicollinearity
    How you want to be treated is based upon your culture. Those from other cultures may want to be treated differently.
    It is not the responsibility of the American healthcare system to accommodate for the customs of each culture residing in the United States (unless a particular institution is trying to turn a profit adhering to a particular custom). If you are in America, then you should abide by our traditions. Want a vegan dinner tray, fine, eat the apple that is neatly place next to the tea. These cultural classes are taking away from more important topics that are ignored in present day nursing programs. As a result, new grads are reporting to their first day of work clueless to the environment of real world nursing and therefore require some sort of orientation program. Even med/surg units are now requiring orientation classes. This is ridiculous and is a superfluous waste of money. When I got hurt on a surf trip to Nicaragua, I went to a Nicaraguan hospital for treatment. I abided by their "customs". Everything turned out fine.
  11. 3
    Good point Vashtee! In the same time is how different people are more approachble from ethnic and cultural point of view

    And i will tell you a story. My first month working in hospital... a East European man patient of mine. He recognized my accent and asked me from where I am. Talk. After that he adress me in his native language, "now YOU need to explain me what means all of that NO ONE WANT TO TALK WITH ME!"
    Well, what he stated wasn't true! All nurses and doctors tried to talk with him. BUT they talked and communicate with him in english communication style that is TOTALLY in another way than in Eastern Europe style. You could talk a perfect english, if you don't communicate like people from EE communication is nothing.... is just coldness, distance, arogance! And belive me, now after so many years in America sometime I fell the same.
    "I have trust in you, you came from there, like me, explain me, what they say !" Very hard situation for me, very distresfull for him! I asked him what "english doctor" told him! He told me. After that half in his maternal language (I forgot a loooot, lol), half in english, I explaind him, that is perfect true what the doctor told him, BUT on EE approach, much more warm, much more subjective, much more hugging. Is EE style! Talking about past, about places about people, about culture, he make jokes about how many americans lovers I have, looool... he was going happy! Very sick and very happy!

    Now frim english point of view...How many ENGLISH nurses could communicate in that way! Is not admited! Is ultrageous, is harassment! But for him wasn't ...was just his native style!

    This man was very sick, but he was going home happy! If he will ask a english nurse all the time the same question and ask and try to find and clarify... english style will clasify him like anxious, depress, argumentative, and take actions against his behavior. But he was just a great man positioned in his former country, away from his native land in the last 50 years, working here, and now an old man in USA, very sick patient for me, and why not... my inner personal part was involved.
    I was non professional because I didn't used professional english style of communication, may be.... but THIS patient, american citizen now, who paid thousand of dollars for his hospitalizasion, was going home happy and full of hope, and for sure he will tell to all his community... "going there, going on that hopsital... is Zuzi there, she will explain you all like in our former country, are good doctors in that hospital, but are just in another way, need to understand them, she will explain you all if you don't understand somenthing"

    This is the "customer service" nurse role! Patient happy, he will come back, because OF YOU or going out also because OF YOU!

    Another arabian one, talked on very high level with me, I put my eyes down and all the time I asked him, "Would you like? What is your wish Sir? " is a style THE MAN, cultural style. Do you think that for me the ultrafeminist Zuzi was easy??? At all! But he needed to stay happy! He give us money, from his money came my check, he need to stay happy!

    We need ALL to know about these paterns and respect them . May be some cutural profiles and standard sentences could be usefull and some curtosy behavior applied and avoided in patinet care will be appreciated.
    Last edit by zuzi on Mar 15, '09
  12. 2
    Quote from RedCell
    It is not the responsibility of the American healthcare system to accommodate for the customs of each culture residing in the United States (unless a particular institution is trying to turn a profit adhering to a particular custom). If you are in America, then you should abide by our traditions. Want a vegan dinner tray, fine, eat the apple that is neatly place next to the tea. These cultural classes are taking away from more important topics that are ignored in present day nursing programs. As a result, new grads are reporting to their first day of work clueless to the environment of real world nursing and therefore require some sort of orientation program. Even med/surg units are now requiring orientation classes. This is ridiculous and is a superfluous waste of money. When I got hurt on a surf trip to Nicaragua, I went to a Nicaraguan hospital for treatment. I abided by their "customs". Everything turned out fine.
    I don't entirely disagree with you. However, I do think we should have some knowledge and sensitivity for those of non-majority cultures.

    Also, when you said those in the United States should abide by our traditions, I have to ask, whose traditions are those? The European white majority? We have many traditions. The European white majority is going to become the minority as demographics change in the United States.
    txwildflower57 and Elvish like this.


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