Transcultural nursing refers to the nursing care of all patients, taking into consideration their religious and sociocultural backgrounds. There are many variables to consider in giving nursing care to a person of a race, religion, or culture different from your own. Respect for the patient, however, is something all aspects of transcultural nursing have in common.
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:
• Define and identify factors of transcultural nursing.
• Identify sociocultural beliefs about illness, to include causes, cures, and nursing implications.
MAJOR FACTORS IN TRANSCULTURAL NURSING
a) Nutrition and dietary practices.
b) Beliefs about illness, its causes and cures.
c) Disorders specific to a particular group, such as the high incidence of sickle cell anemia among the Blacks.
d) Specific anatomical characteristics (e.g, stature, skin tone, hair texture).
e) Religious beliefs about illness and death.
VARIABLES RELATING TO THE TRANSCULTURAL ASPECTS OF NURSING
Some of the factors are:
a) Cultural background of the nurse; differences and similarities between the patient and the nurse.
b) Definition of health and illness accepted by a specific culture; concepts relating to the causes of illness and injury.
c) Folk medicine practices.
d) Attitudes toward health care, relationships, and interactions (e.g., personal space, eye contact).
e) Economic level of the patient and family (socioeconomic status).
f) Environmental factors and related disorders (e.g., ghetto living, lead poisoning).
g) Specific names and terms related to the illness or disorder (e.g.,"bad blood," "mal ojo"); use of slang.
h) Language differences between the health care staff and the patient and family.
i) Modesty and concept of the human body.
j) Reactions to pain, aging, and death.
k) Attitudes about childbirth, abortion, sexual expression, children born to unmarried parents, and homosexuality.
l) Attitudes about mental illness and retardation.
m) Diets in relation to religious and cultural practices; dietary taboos.
n) Attitudes about physical appearance and obesity; adaptation to special therapeutic diets.
o) Importance of religion and religious practices.
p) Religious practices in illness and death; specific prohibitions.
q) Group identity; importance and type of family structure; cohesiveness within the group; traditional roles of men and women.
r) "Visibility" of ethnic background (that is, Black, Oriental).
s) Disorders specific to a cultural group (that is, Tay-Sachs, sickle cell anemia).
t) Attitudes about school; educational level and aspirations of most members of the group.
u) Predominant occupations within the group; role models.
v) "Americanization" of younger members.
w) Numbers of people belonging to that group in the same geographic area as the health care facility.
x) Prejudices within a cultural group relating to other members of the same group.
y) Stereotypes about other cultural/ethnic groups.
z) Mixed families (mixed races, religions, or cultural backgrounds)