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What We Have To Do As Healthcare Professionals

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Nurses play an important role in providing effective and sensitive care of other culture. Cultural respect is significant to improve access to high-quality healthcare that is responsive to patient’s needs and to reduce health disparities. Nurses need to respond to the changing patient demographics and deliver culturally competent care. Some nurses might regard a patient who constantly has a roomful of visitors, and who refuses to take certain medication as noncompliant. Nevertheless, nurses who dig deeper into patient’s beliefs may find these behaviors are as a result of the patient’s cultural value and beliefs which are deeply ideologies that nurses accommodate or preserve. A nurse needs to be culturally aware of being a true patient advocate. Providing sensitive and effective care for patients from diverse background requires flexibility, empathy, and committed to continuous learning. 

    As a critical care nurse in an in a big urban hospital, I was present when a forty-one-year-old man was brought to the admission ward by his wife, daughters, and sons. The patient had a history of myocardial infarctions. The current clinical setting suggested that he had another myocardial infarction. During the assessment of the patient, his wife calmly informed the critical care staff that other than taking her husband to the hospital, she has tried using other forms of traditional interventions to handle her husband’s condition. She had also made peace with God not to allow her husband to depart him and wanted all members of her family to get sick. 

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    The critical unit physician ordered a Foley catheter, dopamine, infusion, intravenous, transfer to the intensive care unit of the regional hospital 3 hours away. Unfortunately, the patient passed away patient two weeks later. No other member of the family was present when the patient died to expect his wife. The other members of his family were unable to afford the cost of travelling to the hospital which was far from home.  The patient’s cultural preferences and values about death and suffering were disregarded. As a healthcare nurse with a culturally diverse background, I sympathized and encouraged the bereaved to have a different perspective of death. 

    Promoting culturally competent nursing care helps nurses to understand the needs of patients and to work effectively with other professionals. In the highlighted scenario, I made various adjustments which had made me take care of the patient and the members of his family. First, I made a self-examination of the patient’s cultural background to create self-awareness. I sought and obtained information base concerning the patient’s ethnic group to gain cultural knowledge. I have expanded this component of cultural knowledge through accessing information offered through various sources including workshop presentations, internet resources, textbooks, seminars, and journal articles. I used my ability to collect relevant data regarding the patient’s presenting the problem and accurately performed a culturally sensitive assessment. 

I used Davidhizar and Giger model framework to assess the ethnic, racial, and cultural difference of the patient. Finally, I adjusted my motivational desire to become aware and seek cultural encounters of the patient’s cultural background. I was open to my patient and his family, and I respected his cultural differences, and I was willing to learn from other healthcare professionals. I did not assume the patient’s beliefs, and I was able to address the patient’s concerns without discrimination.

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