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Cultural Assessment

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Submitted By Jmaharaj
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Do United States and Canada our home too many cultural groups. The U.S. Census Bureau states that in 2008 minorities represented approximately one third of the US population and by 2050 will represent one half of the United States population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008). Before we investigate several cultural families, their needs as patients, traditions and health practices, we must consider what role culture plays in the nursing process. Culture remains to be a vague concept that is often not well understood or explored. Culture can be referred to as the way we do things around here, it is the norm for the particular group. The challenge for nurses regarding culture continues to be maintaining a sufficient knowledge base and comprehension of individualized culturally sensitive care. In the document Nursing: scope and standards of practice it is stated that the cultural, racial, ethnic background of each patient must always be considered and addressed when providing nursing care (ANA, 2004, p2). It is expected that as a nurse care will be individualized based on assessment data collected on the patients physiological, psychological, and developmental status. Understanding how a patient's cultural practices and preferences may affect their health and wellness will promote a transcultural caring nursing environment.

The first cultural family to be interviewed and assessed by this author is of east Indian and American heritage from Trinidad and Tobago. Through assessment it was learned that common health issues arising in this family include: cardiovascular disease, cancer, and hypertension. It was determined that in this culture a difference in health tradition lies in their belief system regarding illness and how best to promote and restore health. Their beliefs are a reflection of their religion of Hinduism. This culture values the belief that all living things possess a soul and place a large emphasis on cleansing and purifying the body to promote help. While it was learned that this specific family does not attend religious institutions their daily practices in the home are representation of their cultural and religious beliefs. Daily practices include: bringing flowers to and praying with a statue of a Hindu god, eating a diet consisting of no pork or beef, and visiting or communicating daily with immediate family to maintain relationships. Family bonds are tight and elders are treated with the utmost respect. When a family member is ill all attention is given to this person. They may be waited on hand and foot until health wellness is restored. Health traditions practiced in this family include: teas, oils, and herbs that are viewed as prevention. Medications are seldomly taken even a mild headache is treated with rubbing alcohol to the head and or a rope tied around the head to "squeeze the illness out". This family and culture prefers a natural approach to maintaining and protecting their well-being. Medical advice from a professional is usually sought after all traditional methods have been exhausted first. Home management of wellness and illness or practiced with attention focused on diet, exercise, and rest.

Second family and sensed by this author is in her words "100% Puerto Rican." This family immigrated to America from a very small community on the island. They settled in the bustling city of Orlando where life as they were accustomed to with change completely. Their origins are of Hispanic descent and a strong Catholic religion is practiced. This family speaks both English and Spanish however preference is to Spanish. Health beliefs and practices of this family place a value on balance and equilibrium. This culture has a belief that there is a relationship between a motions and illness. When the body is not in harmony this is when illness occurs. Maintaining mental balancing of a motions is of importance. This family is devout Catholics and place a strong emphasis on faith and healing. By attending spiritual practices this is a healing process equating to a positive state of mind. This culture like the first has placed value in traditional remedies that have worked for many generations to treat wellness and ailments. Roots, leaves, aromatherapies, and teas are utilized for bodyaches and fever's. Arthritis pain is treated with lemon juice mixed with water in this author learned that Vicks cures everything from common colds to headaches even stomach pains. Diabetes and heart disease seem to be a common health issue for this family. When asked what contributes to these diseases The author was told diet, lack of financial ability to seek care, and D Nile. Food and cooking is a great family tradition offering comfort and togetherness which contributes to many of this family's health issues including obesity.

The third and final family is represented by combination of Peruvian and Vietnamese culture. This family has a strong tie to cultural practices and traditions of the Vietnamese culture. It was discussed how the Vietnamese side of this family experienced tremendous hardship and suffering and how valuable family became. Well this family does not practice a religious preference the author was told most of the extended family is a Buddhist religion, very simplistic in nature and attitude. However, elders are also viewed as matriarchs of this culture. Health beliefs in this family are concepts of the yen and Yang theory. They believe that the universe in the human are polar opposite. The belief that sickness stems from yen and Yang is common practice. Herbal remedies and consuming organ meats such as liver can influence and promote health. When sick eating or drinking hot soups or teas are common practice.

In conclusion, assessing and interviewing these families proves how valuable it is for nurses to be culturally competent their practices, routines, expectations, and norms all very drastically. While all of these families are now Americans they continue to retain and practice some of their traditional values, beliefs, and practices. In order to deliver quality healthcare, nurses should incorporate a trans cultural perspective in their routines (Blais, Hayes, 2015).…...

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