Heritage Assessment

Topics: Culture, Nursing, Health Pages: 5 (1742 words) Published: November 19, 2011
Use of Heritage Assessment in Health Practices
The United States is home for diverse culture. Culture is defined as “the learned, shared, and transmitted values, beliefs, norms, and lifeway practices of a particular group that guide thinking, decisions, and actions in patterned ways” (Leininger, 1988, p.158). Heritage assessment is a great tool to know about one’s own beliefs and health traditions. Nurses have to understand their own cultural practices in order to relate to others. In this paper, student explains the importance of heritage assessment and comparison between different cultures in health practice. Use of Heritage Assessment

Each individual is unique and his or her cultures are different. Heritage assessment helps to find out one’s identification with inherited traditions. Nurses interact with people from different part of the world with various cultural practices. Cultural awareness is an important part of the health assessment. Each culture perceives health and illness in different ways. Nurse should be aware that cultural practices influences the decision making process. It is essential to know someone’s beliefs as a baseline, to initiate treatment and provide high quality patient care. “Cultural competence refers to the ability of nurses to understand and accept the cultural backgrounds of individuals and provide care that best meets the persons’ needs—not the nurses’ needs” (Edelman & Mandle, 2010, p. 644). Personal cultural assessment helps to find out one’s own believes and practices. Respect one individual’s beliefs relates to better understanding of that person’s culture. It might be totally different from what nurse believes, but accepting his or her customs and thoughts make difference in the health care delivery. By seeing through patient’s eyes, one is respecting individual’s wishes. Treating everyone with justice and provide care accordingly is part of right thing nurse does. Many institutions have cultural assessment as part of their admission assessment. This helps the nurse to develop practices and provide culturally competent care.

A healthy relationship by effective communication and developing trust with family helps to achieve a complete assessment data. Heritage assessment tool helps to find out one’s fluency about language, educational status, etc that affects the communication. Several factors influence one’s health and illness practice, beliefs, health promotion and expectations from the nurses. This tool helps to find out the factors such as ethnic diversity, age, sex, religious preference, area of birthplace (rural or urban), socio economic status, etc( Blais, Hayes, Kozier, & Erb, 2006, p.374). Nurses can enrich their knowledge by working with families from different cultures. The knowledge about alternative medications and remedies may help another family. Family Interviews

There are different cultural groups in the United States. The three families that one chose to interview are Native American, African American and Asian Indian. The interviews are conducted by focusing the traditions in health maintenance, health protection and health restoration. The African American and Indian families are more patriarchal compared to Native American male and female have equal importance. The Native Americans have health problems related to social and economic conditions due to low educational attainment and income levels. They follow disease prevention methods very well such as immunizations, diagnostic tests, etc. Health restoration is also important to them, for example treatment of infectious diseases. Smoking and alcohol ingestion is high in Native Americans. So most of the health problems related to poverty and harmful life practices. Unhealthy food choices and high calorie drinks are predisposed to Diabetes. They are coping with the abusive relationship by using of alcohol and/or drugs. Mental health problems are also prevalent in Native Americans. Traditional health practices in...
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