A Transcultural Case Study

Topics: Nursing, Health care, Health care provider Pages: 10 (3148 words) Published: October 10, 2011
A Transcultural Case Study

As the world’s multi-cultural population increases, the significance of transcultural nursing in healthcare is strongly evident. Health care professionals are challenged by the need to understand the various cultural factors that influence a person’s response to health and illness and must develop attitudes and skills that will help them behave in culturally appropriate ways (Walsh & DeJoseph, 2003). Transcultural nursing works as a formal education that equips nurses and other healthcare providers the knowledge regarding beliefs, values, and practices of different cultures in the society with the goal to produce a culturally competent practitioner, therefore, achieving patient satisfaction and positive outcomes (Leininger, 1999). The foundations for transcultural nursing had started with the purpose of compensating the complexities of healthcare needs of people belonging to different culture (Glittenberg, 2004; Tortumluoglu, 2006). Hence, knowing the unique behavioural patterns and lifestyles of a specific culture enables the provider to perform culturally congruent, holistic and appropriate healthcare service (Streltzer, 2008).

Campinha-Bacote’s framework of cultural competence (2002) provides a thorough and comprehensible process for healthcare professional to become culturally competent. It guides healthcare practitioners in achieving the ability to effectively work within the context of the service users from a diverse cultural- ethnic background through keying out five essential components namely, cultural awareness, cultural knowledge, cultural skills, cultural encounter and cultural desire (Campinha-Bacote, 2011). Ryan, Carlton and Ali (2000) pointed out that the five constructs are functionally interdependent and must be covered. Entailing that one will be ineffective without the others, and similarly absence of one component gets unsatisfactory consequences. Imagine a six-stringed acoustic guitar, if one string is not in tune with the others, once you play it the resulting notes and chords are out of tune making a nuisance instead of music.

When an individual is aware that people are different from one another in terms of personality, attitude and behaviour, partially because of their cultural beliefs or backgrounds, that person is culturally aware (Rew, Becker, Cookston, Khosropour & Martinez, 2003). Moreover, The University of Michigan School of Nursing (2000) added that awareness and examination of one’s own beliefs is also an important component of this concept to avoid prejudices and biases when working with service users. However, ethnocentrism, which is defined in Oxford English Dictionary (2003) as a character which assumes that one's own group or belief is superior from the others, may weaken this construct. Awareness of this attitude would help health care provider in avoiding unjust service. Say, a Christian nurse was assigned to care for a dying atheist patient. She believes that death means going to heaven or hell, while her patient may believe that death simply means ceasing to exist. Despite of these differences of beliefs, her job to provide excellent care for the patient and ensuring that his needs are met were not faltered (pricklypear, personal communication, April 08, 2006).

Though, somehow findings from studies conducted by Rew et al (2003) point that conscious awareness of cultural diversity does not guarantee cultural competence. Nurses and other health care providers need a solid knowledge about a variety of populations, culture- specific phenomena (e.g., social support), and human responses to diversity to better understand their client (Meleis, 1996). In acquiring this knowledge, healthcare practitioners must concentrate on three specific issues: health-related beliefs, practices and cultural values; disease incidence and prevalence (Lavizzo-Mourey, 1996). Getting cultural knowledge about the patient’s health-related beliefs and values involves...
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