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A group of people raise their right hands as they take the Oath of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony.
Figure 21.1 The ever-increasing multicultural population in the United States requires nurses to recognize and appreciate cultural differences in health care values, beliefs, and customs. (credit: modification of work by Michael Quinn/NPS/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

On a bustling night shift at an urban hospital in a diverse city, Nurse Sampson is ready to care for a varied group of clients, each with their own cultural and personal background. Using a client-centered approach, Nurse Sampson is committed to providing the best care possible.

The increasingly multicultural U.S. population highlights the need for nurses to recognize and appreciate cultural differences in values, beliefs, and customs. Providing culturally sensitive care improves health outcomes and ensures that health care is accessible and equitable for all clients. By embracing culturally responsive care and cultural humility, nurses can navigate the complexities of cultural diversity and deliver effective and compassionate care, which can contribute to a more equitable and accessible health care system for everyone.

The chapters in this unit consider many facets of culturally congruent care, including the need for this type of care, guiding theoretical perspectives, approaches, and tools nurses can use. This chapter explores the relationship between culture and health and addresses how cultural factors may influence health beliefs, behaviors, practices, and health outcomes. It emphasizes the importance of recognizing that clients may have different expectations regarding communication, space, social organization, time, dietary practices/preferences, and environmental control from those held by the nurse, health care provider, and dominant culture. Transcultural Nursing explores cultural models and the significance of cultural assessment in the provision of culturally sensitive care for individuals from diverse backgrounds. Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Care examines the journey toward becoming a culturally responsive nurse, while Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Program Design provides practical tools for culturally responsive care. Finally, Managing the Dynamics of Difference applies the nursing process to a nurse’s personal journey of becoming more culturally responsive.

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