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5.1 Understanding Cultural Differences

Culture is a set of beliefs, attitudes, and practices shared by a group of people or community that is accepted, followed, and passed down to other members of the group. An individual’s cultural background influences their beliefs, feelings, and attitudes toward health care. Their culture informs how they view health and illness, how they view healthcare providers, and how receptive they are to treatment plans. Culture also determines who receives care and the quality of their care. Certain cultures experience higher rates of disease due to genetics or health disparities caused by socioeconomic factors. Various cultures have their own traditional healing practices and beliefs, and many people still use these practices either alongside or in place of Western medicine. Nurses often care for patients from cultures different than their own, with different beliefs and practices. Respecting individual differences and staying mindful of both explicit (conscious) and implicit (unconscious) biases are crucial to counteract such biases and ensure the delivery of optimal care.

5.2 Ethical Practice in Culture and Diversity

Accommodating diverse cultural practices begins with the practice of cultural humility. By seeking cultural assistance from appropriate sources and practicing cultural negotiation, the nurse can demonstrate respect for diverse cultures. Engaging in cultural diversity practices can range from one-on-one conversations with patients, to researching written history, to actively participating in different cultural activities and experiences. Being responsive to cultural diversity involves understanding cultural differences and being willing to overcome personal biases to accommodate the cultural preferences of a patient in order to provide the most culturally competent care.

5.3 Cultural Practice in Nursing

When providing care for patients from diverse cultural practices, it is necessary to perform a thorough cultural assessment to gain information on patient-specific details. The Transcultural Nursing Society developed Standards of Practice for Culturally Competent Nursing Care, which serve as universally applicable guidelines for nurses in all aspects of culturally competent nursing care. Cultural competency is important because it has the power to improve the quality and safety of care and lead to better health outcomes for culturally diverse patients. Various factors can impact diversity and inclusion in nursing, including the six cultural phenomena: communication, space, social organization, time, environmental control, and biological variations. The best way to counteract this is to identify biases and change practices going forward.

5.4 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Important considerations related to providing equal, diverse, and inclusive nursing care include health equity and health disparities. The nurse should be aware of possible disparities in the patient population and strive to foster a culture of mutual respect, understanding, and support, which can lead to improved patient outcomes. Factors that can prevent diversity and inclusion include stereotyping, cultural imposition, cultural blindness, and culture conflict. Barriers to communication can affect diversity and inclusion by causing barriers to inclusion related to language, literacy, and accessibility for all patients, not just deaf and blind patients.

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