Culture is an important aspect in all groups of people and their societies, which in essence impacts on the way nursing and health care services, should be provided. Different cultures have different perspectives on health care and nursing, which influences the nursing practices in given communities (Leininger & McFarland, 2006). Culture basically refers to the accepted custom, traditions, norm, and rules that outline a given people and their community’s way of life.
Individuals are also greatly influenced by their cultural backgrounds, and as such, expect to be treated in relation to their cultural backdrops. Hindu culture is one the country’s distinct cultural groups, which has distinguished itself by its customs and practices different from the main stream culture in the country. This unique culture has its own perceptions about nursing practices which are inadvertently adhered to by the Hindu community. A clear understanding of cultural aspects within the Hindu community and their impact on nursing practices is essential for efficient and effectual provision of healthcare services to the Hindu people.
The impact of culture in the field of nursing has been one studied for long by many in the practice. Since the gradual development of contemporary nursing practice, it has been regarded as having profound effect on the manner in which nursing care is provided. Different cultures have different perspectives and ideologies behind every sector of life. It is with this reasoning that leading nurses have pointed out the effect that culture has on nursing care (Anderson et al, 2010). In the early part of the 20th century, religion was perceived as the only major social aspect impacting on nursing.
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Gradual increaser in information and knowledge from social research, led to further expansion in the understanding of the intricate relationship between nursing care and culture. Hindu is not only perceived as a religion as pointed out by Daniels (2004), but also a culture followed by a large group of people as shown by (Bali, ND), mainly represented by majority of individuals coming from India and affiliated regions of Bangladesh. According to nursing research, cultural diversity would require the involved nurses to consider a given patient’s language, their gender, occupation, socio economic status, food preferences, sexual orientation and interpersonal relationship (Leininger & McFarland, 2006).
Studies have revealed the immense impact of cultural beliefs and customs in the practice and delivery of health care services. As pointed out by Daniels (2004), culture is a diverse subject within the country and is also difficult to categorize. Among most cultures, such as the Hindu, Buddhists and Sikh, there are strong affiliations to the tenets of their religion. As a result, it would be essential to have an understanding of the cultural and religious background, especially in relation to nursing care, in order to effectively deliver the vital nursing care services (Andrews & Boyle, 2008). It is imperative and should be taken note by all nurses that traditions, customs and beliefs of different cultural groups are never the same. Even close cultures exhibit differences in a number of aspects.
For example, a Sikh would have different beliefs from those held by a Hindu or Buddhist. At the same time, people from diverse regions around the world such as Africa, Middle East and the Caribbean would have their own traditions, unique to their environment religion and way of life. Leininger & McFarland, (2006), have illustrated the importance of transcultural aspect in nursing care. Practice in nursing basically requires one to offer the services with care to the patient. Cultural barrier may prevent or hamper effective delivery of the nursing care. This situation can however be resolved by taking the time to understand the cultural background of the given patient, and knowing the needs and how they should be provided in a manner that will be acceptable to the patient.
Relevance to Nursing
The fact that all human cultures have their indigenous and lay care practices and knowledge necessitates for their understanding among the nurses responsible for offering these services. It is vital for provision of nursing care to different cultural groups to consider their cultural values, practices and beliefs. Transcultural nursing care practices are important especially when offering care to individual from diverse cultures. Nurses practicing in multicultural environments, as well as serving in large hospitals serving diverse cultures would find transcultural nursing relevant in their practice. furthermore, understanding personal backgrounds of the ailing patient, invalid or a recuperating convalescent is an essential part of offering nursing care in a holistic manner that ensure the patient feel he or she is well taken care of.
I have had the opportunity of taking care of a large number of patients within the hospital. However, I had never had the close opportunity to offer nursing services to people from a different culture. It is against this backdrop that I had the chance to take care for a Hindu patient suffering from pneumonia. The strong cultural attachment necessitated that the patient’s faith and beliefs be understood first. Of particular note was the fact the patient’s culture directly affected her take of the medicine offered, the nursing care extended to her and the manner of offering nursing care. It was understood that in spite of the need the patient had for treatment, it had to be offered in a manner found acceptable in light of her culture.
Strategy in nursing
In light of the situation, it would be first necessary to inquire of the patient’s cultural background. Information regarding their specific cultural community and the religion they confess would critical. In addition to this information concerning their socio-economic status, interpersonal relationships, and occupation would also be significant, among other details that would be required to have deeper knowledge of the patient’s background concerning the patient. Vital information would also include the patient’s preferences; a patient whose culture prefers male nurses would basically feel uncomfortable when being attended to by a female nurse and vice versa. It would be important to show respect as the answers to these vital questions are sought. Deep involvement of the other family members would be required at all times during these inquiries. Explanation should be offered to both the patient and their families.
The basic strategy outlined in the scenario above, focuses on learning the culture of the patient. This would be beneficial if learnt prior to commencing with treatment and offering of nursing care. Learning of the patient’s background and understanding its impact to nursing care would be based on transcultural nursing theory advanced by Madeleine Leininger (Andrews & Boyle, 2008). The nursing theory illustrates the great need of understanding the cultural impact on nursing and how they influence the approaches to be applied when caring for different individuals.
The theory is relevant at the need of its application by ensuring that the nurse provides culturally congruent nursing care. In advanced nursing, application of the transcultural nursing theory would guarantee that the practicing nurse will be capable and competent in caring for patients with diverse values and beliefs, without limitations due to diverse cultural practices. The theory has been improved over the years since its inception in the early 1980s (Anderson et al, 2010). Moreover, the theory postulates effective approaches in the learning of other cultures; an important aspect in caring for patients from diverse cultures.
Success will be indicated by understanding the patient’s culture and the impact it would have on providing nursing care. Basically, evaluating a successful provision of nursing care will involve the level of understanding between the nurse and the patient. Success will be illustrated by effective and efficient delivery of nursing care without cultural barriers (Anderson et al, 2010). Furthermore, the patient would have positive views about the quality if nursing care provided in spite of the prevailing cultural differences.