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An adult draped in a headscarf sits with a child on a hospital bed in a temporary clinic. Four medical personal wearing scrubs and surgical masks surround them. One crouches and one bends over to speak to them at eye-level.
Figure 23.1 Culturally responsive nurses recognize and respect cultural differences to better understand and respond to their clients’ needs. (credit: modification of work by Russell Watkins/Department for International Development/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Cory, a community health nurse working at the county clinic, introduces himself to a new client, Mrs. Rodriguez. Focused on providing individualized care, Cory begins by asking about her health practices and preferences. Mrs. Rodriguez shares that she recently moved to the United States to be closer to her family and prefers to involve them in her health care decision-making and planning. When asked if she would like to include a family member in the visit, Mrs. Rodriguez accepts the offer, explaining that her daughter, Selma, is in the waiting room. After welcoming Selma into the room, Cory notes that Mrs. Rodriguez is visibly more comfortable discussing her health. As he empathetically listens to her concerns, Cory prioritizes his client’s cultural beliefs and preferences. At the end of the visit, Cory provides culturally adapted materials to facilitate Mrs. Rodriguez’s plan of care.

Cory’s experience as a community health nurse is like that of many other nurses working in health care today. As our society and world become more globalized, nurses need to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape of cultures, information, and ideas. This chapter provides the knowledge and tools to understand and begin assessing the role of culture in nursing and client care.

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