The Navajo Culture and Healthcare

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The Navajo culture influences health-seeking behaviors through their beliefs that “goodness is found only when one is in complete harmony with the surrounding environment” (Giger, 2013, p. 249). These harmonies come from being in balance and wellness with their community, family, and the environment. Therefore, it is imperative that nurses allow them to maintain their traditional rituals even when in the hospital. (Giger, 2013). The Navajo have their own beliefs and values associated with medicine, healing, and death and dying. By understanding their traditions nurses it is important to determine which cultural practices can be incorporated and are not harmful to their health and which needs to be educated to provide beneficial appropriate care. The influence of traditional Navajo folk medicine relates to health seeking behaviors through their strong beliefs. Blessingways is the main philosophy where they practice to remove illness through stories, song, prayers, rituals, symbols, and sand paintings. “In a blessingway ceremony, the importance of family and clan members is emphasized in the healing process” (Giger, 2013, p.248). They use traditional medicine men and women who learned skills over many years. They utilize diagnosticians, singers, and herbalists. Due to these beliefs it is important to work together with these ritualistic healers and modern medicine. If a Navajo cannot maintain his cultural balance in the hospital setting it is unlikely he or she will return for care. Understanding their traditions and values as well as obstacles they face to gain access to medicine is important as well. Many are very poor. They do not value material things and therefore do not strive to gain wealth. Money could be a big barrier to seeking medical health care in a hospital setting. Also gaining access to this type of medical care can be challenging. This may be an obstacle as well as it would require travel. They also may find it difficult to adapt...
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