The assessment step of the nursing process is
extremely important in inter ethnic relationships between patients
and nurses. To gather data about a patient of a culture different
from the nurse's, the nurse needs to view the patient in the contexts
within which he exists.
Miscommunication is a frequent problem in hospitals. The most obvious
is when the patient and hospital staff do not speak the same
language. Language problems can also occur among English speaking
patients. In England, Australia and South Africa, the word
"fanny" is a derogatory term referring to a woman's vagina.
Imagine the reaction of a British woman when asked to prepare for a
shot in the fanny. But the more subtle problems are those that
result from cultural differences in meanings of non verbal behavior.
Many Asians consider it disrespectful to look someone directly in the
eye, especially if that person is a nurse, not because of disinterest
or dishonesty. An Asian patient may avoid eye contact out of respect
for the superior status of the nurse. Many Middle Easterners see
direct eye contact between a man and a woman as a sexual invitation.
Knowing what is the norm within the culture will facilitate
understanding and lessen miscommunication.
Social Organizations- Patterns of cultural behavior learned through enculturation. Recognize and accept that individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds may desire varying degrees of acculturation into the dominant culture. Life cycle factors must be considered in interactions with individuals and families ( e.g. high value placed on the decision of elders, the role of eldest male or female in families, or roles and expectation of children within the family). Culture is determined not only by ethnicity but by factors such as geography, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Understand that age and life cycle factors must be considered in interactions with all individuals and families.
Concept of the passage of time, duration of time, and points in time.
Countries such as England and China seem to be past oriented. They
value tradition, doing things the way they have always been done.
Individuals from these countries might be reluctant to try new procedures.
Racially (see article on race) related
body structure, skin color, hair texture, and other physical
characteristics; enzymatic and genetic variations;
electrocardiographic patterns; susceptibility to disease; nutritional
preferences and deficiencies, and psychological characteristics.
Boyle JS, Andrews MM:
Transcultural Concepts in Nursing Care. Glenview, IL, Scott,
Foresman/Little, Brown College Division, 1989
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