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by micro micro, RN (Member) Member

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self, as I finally debrief from a great night of work.....

and I will try to stay on topic of patient care/nursing as I chose this forum to post this under.....

1) nursing is an honour to do.....

2) a nurse in certain areas can practice independently, but in the majority of arenas.....it takes all of us, with all of our various skills, expertise, communication styles and talents.....

3) floating could be one of the secrets of this burnt out nursing world.........for me it is at the moment :-)

4) I know that we( as a nurse cannot know it all ), but tonight.............I surely wish I was less ignorant about some cultural differences.........

-----I am a touch, physical person and even with my patients, families within professional bounds.......and this in general is very welcome and needed within health care..........touch is a powerful medium of care........

but tonight, I felt like an "ignorant American".........please let me explain.....and please do not turn this into a war/terrorism discussion.....but I need to talk about it....and well, I guess I am typing about it instead.......

will have to talk in brief, as to not disclose any ......

but pt. ill, chronically, but acute hospital stay.....family at bedside, very concerned, bit agitated, and crying............

pt. was stable, and all WNL, after done with assessment of pt. etc.....I turned to family member and reached out as to half embrace her around the shoulder.........

she pulled back and said, no touch........

well, as the night wore on, and I realized with my olimited intelligence what I had done, beside invade her personal space..........the family member and I got along well and even sat and talked along with patient.......

the family member was arabic, female, older than I, and it was not culturally acceptable to touch, etc...........

I value her right and beliefs as much if not more than I value my own.....I place other people very highly.....and in my care, I deem that of utmost importance..........



How often do we look at our patients and families too quickly, without giving the entiriety of their disease process, any significant cultural differences, different in communication styles and personalities.........

I guess I am rethinking the Golden Rule.........

for my nursing care, especially and yes, in life.....

I am constantly evaluating ........... and changing............and growing.........

but instead of doing unto others as I would have them do unto me.......

what about doing unto others as they would like me to do.........

see them for who they are, first and then respond.........

thx for listening all..........

guess this goes back to another patient interaction question?????

:nurse:It is truly an honour to care for people using all of my technical nursing ability, working within a great health care team and being able to at least attempt to provide holistic care in the scope of care of the patients. To have someone's loved one in your hands and in your care, you have entered a "sacred" realm.........what an honour................. :nurse:

I am so thankful for what I experienced last night. I learn so much from other people. I have much to give, but without the communication and respect between people......what do we have. We are not robots, and neither are our patients.

Sorry, the hour is late, and I am talk/typing.......should have probably of posted this in off topic conversation, but NO!!!!!

all of what I am discussing does of course also apply in our/my personal life, but it was brought to the forefront of my attention as part of my nursing care.....and an area of growth for me.........

peace and be well all,


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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

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micro.....Thanks for sharing! You can always be counted on to go the extra mile in analyzing and learning from each new situation you find yourself in. You are an inspiration......keep posting!!:kiss

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canoehead has 30 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

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You did good micro.

This is proof positive that people can work together and love each other for their strengths even if they come from very different places. Wish the power suits internationally could see it.

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150 Posts; 4,576 Profile Views

Hey, Micro.

Sounds like you were very compassionate, concerned and caring.

Keep it up, you're doing great!

We can't beat ourselves up for not anticipating everyone's personal styles... It's not just a cultural thing, sometimes it's just a difference of individuals. I don't think you can emigrate to another country/culture and expect everyone to understand you and your ways.

We can only do our best and be ourselves. (I had a patient ask me for a hug last night before I transferred her out. That was a first.)

Take care, and just keep being you ((((((( )))))))

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577 Posts; 6,284 Profile Views

Hey Micro,

great experience you made there!

So interesting to see how people from different cultures care (and nooo, no other discussion about Jean Watson here either) for each other and show it in their own way.

I had a similar experience with a boy-child from Vietnam, refugees in the seventies, a group of "boat-people". They didn't talk Dutch or English and I had to admit the child to the peds-ward. And just to make him feel safer and welcome, I petted his head.

Wow, his mum was terribly upset with me and started screaming and dragged the boy away from me.

I had no idea what I did wrong, till one of my fellow nurses came up to translate, she was from Indonesia herself, and she told me, that in a lot of Asian countries, the head of a child is sacred, cause his personality is in there. Never is it allowed for a stranger to touch a child's head.

Yes, so different as we think and do, but important to know.

Take care Micro, Renee

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1,173 Posts; 10,384 Profile Views

thanks all for the discuss back.......

I value your thought regarding this.....

the patient and the family member, were very nice.....

and we truly did communicate as the evening went along.........

and chuckled for our own foopah's.........

I am glad to say that I am open to my neighbor's.....

in my personal life and within my nursing care.....

which speaking of,

have to run, going to work for an extra 4 hours.........


love and peace all

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1,244 Posts; 8,840 Profile Views

Gee, i didn't know that about the head=thing!

Or the no-touch thing!

Thanks for sharing the information and the insight, micro and semstr!

I'm in a huge multi-cultural area and though we 're taught some things in school, there's just no substitute for personal experience, i guess.

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1,173 Posts; 10,384 Profile Views

VAC said it when we cannot be expected to know everything', and also that sometimes it is just differences in people.

What I value and continually aware of is being open to others......and especially in my nursing care.....putting them first.......and changing how I am...........

I value my neighbors and others in this world. With the risk of sounding silly,...........

a couple of lines from some great songs.....

It's a small world, after al.

& People, people who need people.......

love to all my fellow earth inhabitants(i.e. neighbors)

I just so value the opportunities that I have in this life to live and help another.

love and peace all,


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KeniRN has 8 years experience and specializes in Pediatrics.

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There's a book written by Anne Fadiman titled, "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down." It's a very very informative book and well written (I haven't bee able to put it down) about the cultural differeces between Americans (nurses,docs & healthcare) and the Hmong. It tells the story of a refugee family from Laos, whose infant daughter is dx'd with a seizure disorder and the conflict that occurs between the family and the world of american medicine.


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1,173 Posts; 10,384 Profile Views

I think there is a lot of cultural differences within "American medicine", that we do not even realize.

I know I cannot know all, and am also influenced by my own culture, society and personality, but I think we lose something, when we even become too "medically-oriented" within our own working environment.

I do not know what I am trying to say exactly. As of course, medicine and the science of medicine is of course correct in what it can and will do as research continues. But medicine is for the health, protection and wellbeings of humans and we are not just physical.

So since I do not know what I am trying to say, will not say anything further.

I wish to know more on all realms. But am off work today and taking it very easy is in order.


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455 Posts; 6,673 Profile Views


It sounds like you handled the situation in a very compassionate way. I think you are right in that we are influenced by our own culture, so it's important to know what our own influences are so that we can recognize the cultural influences of others and respect them. If you're interested, there is a book titled, "Cultural Diversity in Health and Illness" written by Rachel E. Spector, RN. American medicine will always be our starting point as providers, but cultural sensitivity never hurts. A mind is a terrible thing to close. Enjoy your day off, you deserve it. :)


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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNS and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

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Micro - you did good, as usual. My husband was in the air force for 23 years and we lived 12 of those years overseas: Japan, Korea and Spain. At least in Japan and Korea - it is good luck to touch the head of a blonde child - (both of my sons were very young at the time and blonde haired, blue eyed). However, I'll admit I was totally grossed out because the sanitary conditions were dreadful.

Anyway - I am NOT a touchy-feely person and I have lived in areas where it is the norm to literally throw oneself at the provider and hug them. While I don't care for this - I never pushed anyone away.

Everyone has their own SPACE thing - so if (like Micro did) you go with the flow - everything should be fine.

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