Culturally competent nursing is one of the most important aspects of healthcare. It has become one of the recent concerns in every healthcare industry of all nations as every nation has become tolerable of diverse population coming from different parts of the world (Moore et al. 2017 pp: 320). Along with the growth of the numbers of diverse population, it has become extremely important for healthcare professionals to develop skills which respect the needs of the patients of different cultures and also providing them with care that aligns with their cultural preferences and inhibitions. Researchers are of the opinion that cultural respect is very important for the reduction of health disparities (Gallagher and Polanin 2015 pp: 337). They are also of the opinion that culturally competent nursing is helpful in the improvement of the access to high quality healthcare which is in turn respectable and responsive to patient’s needs. Nurses in all these scenarios, should respond to the changing demographics of their patients so that they can offer culturally sensitive care (Noble et al. 2014 pp 90). This assignment will mainly highlight the different components that nurses should incorporate in their care practices for students so that they provide best care for culturally diverse client. A case scenario would be taken which would mainly help in acting as an example bout how nurses should handle different situation when culturally diverse patients are admitted to the wards.
A middle aged married woman of the Islam religion was admitted to the ward after she had a fall in her garden. She had faced a skin tear and wounds in her hand and on her head which had resulted in loss of large amount of blood. She was partially unconscious but was able to respond and talk feebly. She was brought here by her husband who complained about similar symptoms of nausea and vertigo often. The nurse in charge in the emergency department was a male healthcare member who immediately advised for blood transfusion due to loss of heavy blood. She was wearing a hijaab which needed to be removed in order to undergo the stitching of her skin tears as well as the dressing of the wounds. It created a huge issue in the ward as many of the activities that were conducted by me and my nurse colleague were prevented either by her husband or also by his wife. The first issue that was noted was they complained that they could not allow exposure of the body of the patient in place of a male healthcare member which was against the norms. Secondly another concern was that she was also not allowed to take blood from any sources that are not of the same religion. Both the issues seemed to be quite disturbing for us as it interrupted the smooth flow of the treatment which we usually conduct every day. Moreover as they were not been able to communicate in English, it was really making difficult for us to make the patient or her husband aware of the emergency of the situation. Moreover, later they also complained that we were not respectable to them as we had talked with them with eye contact which was not liked by them. After an hour, more than 8 members of his family came to visit in the hospital that wanted to meet their patient but were not allowed to as emergency patients are not subjected to interaction with more than one family member. All these made them upset stating that their feelings and emotions were not respected as they were form different religion. We got very upset with the entire situation the entire episode of the handling of the patient and his family members were frustrating to us as we were facing several interruptions in every arena of the assessments of her health.
Importance of cultural competency:
After severe criticism of the approach that we had taken for her assessments by the nursing mentor we were able to understand the mistakes we conducted in her assessments. Different cultures have their own norms and traditions and the core of nursing profession highlights the importance of respecting patients’ cultural preferences in such a way so that the care they provide maintains autonomy, dignity and respect of culture of that patient (Long 2014 pp: 475). Researchers have defined the term culture as the thoughts, communications, customs, beliefs, values, actions as well as institutions of ethnic, racial, religious or social groups. By the development of cultural competency, nurses should develop the ability to acquire specific skills, behaviors, attitudes as well as policies within the healthcare system that mainly portrays effective work in cross cultural setting (Montenary et al. 2013 pp: 55). Researchers are of the opinion, that nurses who are able to provide cultural competence in her practices and care to patients can ensure positive health outcomes which in turn increases the patient satisfaction (Roberts et al. 2014 pp: 260 ).
Importance of self awareness through reflection:
For ensuring cultural competency, researchers have provided many strategies which when followed in a sequential manner can help nurses gather the skills that ensure safe culturally competent practices. The first one as stated by them is the development of self awareness and sensitivity. Each and every human being have been born and brought up in their particular surrounding that had influences of their own cultural beliefs and values. They incorporate these cultural preferences and inhibitions in their own practices and other activities of life while judging the morality of the actions they take (Diaz et al. 2015 pp: 25). Culture is learnt as well as conveyed from generation to generation by the process of socialization. Therefore researchers have also supported that it becomes the human habits to judge other’s actions in the lights of own cultural morals of rights and wrongs. These prevent healthcare professionals of not being able to justify other’s actions which they had taken aligning with their own cultural values (Almutairi, McArthy and Gardner 2015 pp: 20). Judging a patients’ activities with one’s own beliefs avoiding the beliefs of the patients often create conflicts. Not only that being dominant by judging other’s cultural beliefs in the lights of one have one’s cultural beliefs hamper the main motive of nursing care (Ndiwane, Koul and Theroux 2014). Therefore, self reflection is very necessary by which nurses can judge her actions and beliefs to develop cultural awareness and cultural sensitivity. Researchers are of the opinion that cultural awareness can be developed by effective reflection where a professional by observing and being conscious about the similarities and contrasts of the different cultural groups with that of own culture can develop an understanding of the differences (Baker and Began 2014 pp: 560). Different people have different approach to health, illness and healing and knowing about the differences with own culture will prevent nurses to judge them in light of their own culture. Reflection also helps in developing cultural sensitivity which helps nurses to be aware of and also providing an understanding of the deeper levels of emotions which are attached with one owns culture and the way culture is perceived by us (Yang, Lim and Lee 2013 pp: 187). This automatically would help the nurse to not imply one’s belief while judging the actions of culturally diverse people. In the case scenario, if we had reflected on our own cultural preferences, traditions, beliefs and others and also linking with the cultural beliefs of the Muslim patient, their actions would not have been considered to be immoral and their suggestions and complaint would not have been seen unjustified by us. Rather if we had been culturally aware and culturally sensitive, we could have understand their perspective and would have been able to provide a culturally safe practice to the. We would have never tried to judge their decisions with our own perspectives and this would have not intensified the situation.
My own cultural values and virtues:
I was quite unaware of the fact that I possessed cultural stereotypes without my knowledge. Previously, I used to believe that I am quite open to all the cultures and respected all cultures with equal fondness as like my own culture. Probably absence of any cultural interaction with other cultures in my university years had made me think that I have no biasness towards them. However, when I faced certain issues while tackling the Islam patient, it was then, I came to know that internally I am not as open minded as I should be as nursing professional. I was neither open minded about other cultures nor I had proper attitudes in handling culturally sensitive cases. Moreover I realized that I was culturally dominant as I judged other cultural traditions in light of my own cultural preferences. However, with the help of my mentor and reflecting over the cases, I learnt about the issues that I need to change in future.
Cultural competency skills can be developed with the following of three important components that need to be inculcated in the practice and development of the nursing professional skills. These components mainly involve the development of proper attitudes, enhancing proper knowledge and developing skills to handle patient coming from different backgrounds. The first component is development of cultural knowledge. The nurses should take initiatives of developing knowledge about the cultural traditions, preferences, habits, inhibitions and others of the different culturally diverse patients who often gets admitted in the healthcare center (Alpers et al. 2014 pp: 1001). They should try to incorporate the knowledge during development of the care plans so that the interventions they take are in accordance with the patients, preferences and do not become a barrier in the care for the patients. Being aware of the patient’s ethnicity like those of the common genetic elements which are followed and shared by them in accordance to their ancestry is extremely important. In the case depicted, if we were aware of the Muslim traditions, cultures and preferences, we would have automatically be able to develop ways and options by which we could have assessed the patients with techniques which would not have upset them (Han and Cho chung 2015pp: 2015). We would have known about how they would like to carry their treatments and therefore females’ nurses would have only approached her. Without asking her to open up the hijab we could have cut clothes only on the part where wounds were present. We could have not made eye contact with them and also would allow huge number of relatives in a strategic manner. Researchers have recommended ways like searching the city websites for demographic information, doing specific research within cultural groups and thereby visiting the local library of the university library will help us to get resources to develop knowledge about different cultures.
The second important component which every individual should be incorporating is the development of proper attitudes which are important to evolve as a culturally competent caregiver. Each and every nurse should foster the positive attitude of being open minded so that they can provide respect to all cultures in equal aspect (Mareno and Hart 2014 pp: 85). The presence of self biasness which results in improper attitude will make a nurse be restrictive in her practices while caring for the patients. Her attitude should reflect transparency and no negative feeling for any culture should be harbored as this may impact the care as all are human being and emotional outflow is natural. Positive attitudes with the need for identification and debunking of stereotypes are extremely important (Seio and Kwon 2014 pp: 420). Having a negative attitude portrays a lack of sensitivity without knowing how their actions are affecting patients. Therefore it is extremely important to reflect on one’s own cultural attitude so that the most subtle of the different types of stereotypical tendencies so that they do not affect the level of care to the patientsv (Kim and Kim 2013pp: 166). In the case depicted, form the very first moment, we were harboring a dominant attitude where we were not giving a scope to ourselves only to understand the Muslim patient’s perspectives and were judgmental about their actions. Such an action reflects our negative attitude.
The next set is the development of correct set of skills which will ensure cultural competency. The best skill that would ensure cultural competency is the learning of the language which would overcome the language barrier. Developing skills to use translator for non English speaking patients or utilizing certain phrases or words which make them understand the plan of care us extremely important (Truong et al. 2014 pp: 99). Moreover learning the skills of flexibility to easily adapt to different new and different situations in the healthcare wards are also important. Moreover skill to make the patients feel relaxed and development of close relationships with the patients of diverse culture are also important to prevent them from feeling new to the surrounding of healthcare wards (Kohlbry 2016 pp: 313). Knowing their requirements and providing them with the proper care with the exact modified techniques increase patient satisfaction and therefore it needs to be developed. In the depicted case, if we were able to communicate with the patients and family members effectively making them understand the urgency of the situations, the situations would not have got so intensified. Moreover, of we would have been able to develop a proper relationship with them making them feel included within the healthcare systems by providing dignity, the situation could have been handed more responsibly.
Cultural competency is extremely important for the healthcare professionals to ensure care for patients that would have the best outcome. In order to increase patient satisfaction, healthcare professionals need to overcome self biasness and stereotypes of other cultures. They need to reflect on their own cultural beliefs and traditions so that they do not mask the cultural preferences of the patients. Cultural self awareness and cultural sensitivity can be developed by proper reflection by the professionals which ensure development of cultural competency. Moreover, ensuring the correct knowledge, attitudes and skills regarding the development of cultural competency are extremely important. Once these components are ensured by the healthcare professionals, he can provide care to such patients with highest patient satisfaction. With the appropriate use of the case scenario, it is thereby identified how proper cultural awareness would have assured the best care for the patient.
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