I am an RN, currently finishing up my master's in family nurse practitioning. I am bilingual in Spanish and I very much enjoy working with the Hispanic population in and around Philadelphia.
I am always curious to hear about how other nurses have been able to incorporate culturally sensitive nursing practices. What kinds of "pearls" have people found to be helpful when working with minorities and other cultures? What do you think remains to be the biggest problem in this area? Was this area focused on enough in our nursing education programs or in the work place? Let me know what you think. Thanks
Jul 21, '99
I am a nursing student, so I can talk about things our (ADN) program is doing. Cultural aspects of nursing have been integrated so far into the curriculum regarding patient care. We also have to complete a multicultural class as a prerequisite for our nursing program.
In addition, we were required to do reports on a culture of our choice and include such topics as death rituals, communication techniques, pain expression (or lack thereof), modesty issues, and "home remedies" used.
Being in a culturally diverse area, these teachings have already shown rewards in the clinical arena where we've worked with many different cultures, and some patients who speak no English, or for whom English is not their native language.
I'm not sure what other programs require, but as a student, I have enjoyed these issues especially since I can take the theories taught and put them into practice to provide better care to my patients.
Jul 22, '99
I think the fact that you are bilingual is one of the best tools you have at your disposal (as you've already appreciated). It says that you like these people enough as individuals to want to be able to exactly communicate with them.
An important feature for me is to show respect of usual ways of self-care that are generally culturally influenced. This may mean that a little hispanic infant/child gets introduced to beans in a time frame that has little to do with AAP guidelines. (I personally prefer to see little kids chewing on beans over french fries any time.) It may mean that grandma's advice on breast feeding is preferred over your own and you have to accept that (and be thankful that this momma has a supportive family system.)
Some of the best "trans-cultural" care givers I ever saw had a real capacity to exude real interest and appreciation for the individual and their way of doing things and became very accepting in things that others might not. This is simply seeing your clients as indiviudals and NOT expecting them to function in the framework of a cultural cookie cutter.
Sounds like you are on the road...because you enjoy your clients.