Please share your knowledge of cultural diversity

  1. Hello to all! I had my very first day as a new GN today and I was reading some material about cultural diversity in nursing and I would like to hear from everyone on this subject. It is very important that nurses be aware of the many differences in this area in order to better understand and deliver the best patient care possible.

    I have some knowledge about certain religions, for example, I was raised Catholic and married a Baptist, so in caring for patients I know, for example, that catholics do not believe in abortion. I also have been told in school that Jahovahs Witnesses do not believe in receiving blood products. We were told today that in the Asian culture people do not believe in verbalizing pain. I don't know about this, but if you can contribute, with certainty, any truths about different cultural or religious beliefs that affect the care a patient should receive, then please share it with me. Or, if you have some personal experiences with patients and you were able to support their decisions about their care or help them cope with illness because of your knowledge of their personal beliefs or religious background, please share it.


    I am asking this in a serious manner and am in NO WAY trying to start another tired thread based on opinion or disagreement about religion or its practice. I am just asking you to share some insight into cultural practices that will make me a better nurse. Please do not respond in a negative way.

    Thank you!
    Gator
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   boggle
    Congratulations on the new job Gator.

    Take a look at your text books form your begining nursing classes. Many of those address the issue of cultural beliefs that influence nursing and health care. I have an old Harkreader text that has a full chapter describing differences in communincation style, health beliefs, the whole pain issue.

    Are you working in a diverse community? How about your coworkers? Once you get to know people at work, you may be able to engage them in conversations about their culture.

    I found it was also helpful to ask patients of families about beliefs (when we actuall have time to chat), once we got to know each other a bit. Some families were really open and talkative. One family actually took me under their wing, telling me about their heritage, family structure, how family took care of family. I think they were pleased that I asked. Had a taste of some really great baclava too (spelling??).

    Good luck to you in your new job. The learning is just begining!!!
  4. by   healingtouchRN
    well I 've been taking some cultural classes lately on Korean culture since they are opening an automotic plant here soon. I know the males have a high incidence of alcholism, since entertaining after work is common. They will not think it's a problem until it's a legal problem (like with DUI's). They also don't like feet. It's is rude to point your feet toward them, or sit in a chair with a leg crossed & foot pointing towards them. Also in decision making, FAMILY is a huge issue. One person will make a decision, the whole family will be involved on the issue. I worked with a Korean-American & she confirmed these cultural phenomena in her upbringing in S. Korea. Very interesting people. I look forward to caring for them. I work with another Korean nurse who makes the best eggrolls @ christmas for us!
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I have Got some wonderful books on trans-cultural nursing. There is even a society dedicated to trans-cultural nursing, as well. You should check it out! lots of great info there. Check out this web addy:

    www.tcns.org

    Good luck and congrats on your graduation and new career.
  6. by   boggle
    Great web site SmilingBlue Eyes. The Links from their main menu look very interesting. I read through the link/page on Buddism-health care ..learned lots.

    Thank's so much!
  7. by   NRSKarenRN
    Check out this thread---can also do a search to find out other posts on subject by clicking blue search button above--opposite BB logo.

    http://allnurses.com/forums/showthre...ltural+nursing
  8. by   SharonH, RN
    I live/work in the Atlanta area and am exposed to many, many different religions, races, and cultures. I never pay attention to any of the cultural diversity "tips" we are given because for sure I will end up taking care of the one exception to the rule. On admission, we do ask if there are any cultural or religious requests they have related to their care. I have found that if you just treat people respectfully and ask them what you should do, they will usually tell you and that is enough to provide good care. Most reasonable people of any race/culture/religion know when you mean well.
  9. by   gwenith
    Thanks Smilingblueyes very god link - unfortunately there wasnothing on Australian Aboriginal beliefs and health care. Probably the best site for infromation is http://www.atsic.gov.au/
  10. by   live4today
    Originally posted by SharonMH31
    I.......am exposed to many, many different religions, races,
    and cultures. I never pay attention to any of the cultural diversity "tips" we are given because for sure I will end up taking care of the one exception to the rule. On admission, we do ask if there are any cultural or religious requests they have related to their care. I have found that if you just treat people respectfully and ask them what you should do, they will usually tell you and that is enough to provide good care. Most reasonable people of any race/culture/religion know when you mean well.
    My feelings exactly! Couldn't say what's on my mind any better than this. Always always ask the individual patient and family about their own personal beliefs. Never, never, never assume that you know what is best for any patient based on textbook teachings. Many of them I found to be untrue when I was a nursing student. Play it safe......ASK your patients and their family members that participate in their loved ones care what their practices and beliefs are and go with what they tell you.
  11. by   Dayray
    I love taking care of people from different cultures.

    A few months back I took care of a Veitemise women. She had just had her first baby and had all sorts of traditions and cultural rules to follow. She could only eat hot things, becuse cold would make her sickly in her old age. She wanted very much to stay in bed for a month (we comprimised on this one). She did not want to shower for a month (did bed baths and peri washes). She could only eat certain things. She wanted to take a bath in lemon leaves and I tried to find them on my day off but couldent =(.

    I have also taken care of muslems (hehe guess they did'nt follow the rule about male nurses), Hindu, sieak, butist, african and a few others its great.

    The one best peice of advise I can share is "its okay to ask" most of them understand that you are american and may not know their traditions. In fact most expect that you will not support them in their culture. You can make them very happy by asking about and offering to facilitate or respect their belifes.
  12. by   Gator,SN
    Thank you all for the great advice!
    In the future I will definitely ask because I want to be able to do whatever I can to help my future patients receive the best possible care.
    I do live in a culturally diverse community and wasn't sure what to expect and was hoping to gain some insight before I take care of patients.
    Smilingblue eyes, great website!
    Dayray, this was just what I was looking for in terms of experience. I thank you for sharing!

    Thank you all!
    Gator
  13. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Originally posted by cheerfuldoer
    My feelings exactly! Couldn't say what's on my mind any better than this. Always always ask the individual patient and family about their own personal beliefs. Never, never, never assume that you know what is best for any patient based on textbook teachings. Many of them I found to be untrue when I was a nursing student. Play it safe......ASK your patients and their family members that participate in their loved ones care what their practices and beliefs are and go with what they tell you.
    That is a given. That is one belief trans-cultural nursing embraces, of course. Plus, at least from a hospital nursing perspective, everywhere clients seek treatment should have in place the means in the admission assessment and care planning processes to ADDRESS these concerns individually as the two places I work do.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on May 20, '03
  14. by   SmilingBluEyes
    It is important TO ALWAYS ask, but being aware of cultural practices in general by groups has helped enormously in my practice while I never forgot the common-sense practice of asking first how best I can meet their needs. Awareness opens eyes, I say, to begin with. Being aware helps me to know WHAT questions to ask in the FIRST place.

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