Cultural Awareness

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Cultural Awareness

Whatever type of patient a nurse encounters he/she has to be aware of that person's culture. Be it a person of the same race contrary to many peoples beliefs; there are many cultures within an ethnic group that help define that race. I think this is the reason many people get so caught up in assuming certain ethnic groups should act a certain way. Patients come from all different backgrounds and morals which ultimately shape their way of thinking and reasons for denying or choosing how to go forward with medical decisions. For instance, Jehovah witnesses come from all different ethnicities and one should not assume a certain picture of what a patient should look like. It is very important for a nurse to also recognize customs of certain cultures which are different from main stream society. For example, when I was in maternity we learned how some people from Chinese decent place all the newborn care on the maternal grandmother. Now if a new nurse coming on to the floor was not familiar with this information he/she may have went forward and documented this information as the mother not bonding properly with her new child or neglecting it. This is just one example of many different customs of numerous groups that are part of this large melting pot we call America. Nurses need to be competent to recognize and be culturally aware of their surroundings and their patient's feelings to provide the ultimate care and induce a climate of well being. This is where critical thinking comes in and a nurse must use whatever tools they may be given to properly assess his/her clients needs through the nursing process not just medically, but emotionally.
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