Cultural competency in nursing refers to the ability of the health care provider to satisfy the needs of patients from diverse cultural backgrounds. One acquires it through having an understanding of the different groups of cultures. To be culturally competent, the health care provider must evaluate their knowledge of different cultures, including their beliefs and practices on health issues.
The Asian cultural group has cultural settings that need the attention of nurses intending to understand it. For instance, communication among Asians is sometimes affected by an individual’s background. People residing in urban areas may not communicate using their native language as fluently as those in rural areas may. Asians respect their elders and may not speak openly with them. This prevents effective communication (Euromed Info, n.d.). Cultural beliefs also influence the health practices of Asians, making them disregard modern healthcare. The Chinese believe that blood is a form of non-renewable energy for the body (Wu, 2010). Consequently, patients refuse the removal of blood for conducting laboratory tests for fear of losing energy. A cultural broker explains the importance of blood tests in the discovery of diseases.
Barriers existing between the patient and their nurse may affect the quality of health care provided. Khoury et al (2012) found that the language barrier and lack of cultural competencies by the health care providers enhance declinations of health care quality. The authors also assert that systems of care may be poorly formulated to enable accommodation of the culturally diverse patients. An ethical dilemma may ensue if a patient insists on following their culture, but their medical condition compels the nurse to apply her knowledge, which displeases the client.
Nurses can use the Purnell Model for Cultural Competency when assessing a culture. According to Purnell (2002), this model has 12 domains that can be applied to a culture. These fields include heritage, communication, family, work issues, risky behaviors, nutrition, reproduction, health-care practice, spirituality, death, bio-cultural ecology, and healthcare practitioner. The author found that these concepts could help the nurse to obtain an in-depth understanding of a population because they cover key areas of life issues, and is interrelated.
The Purnell Model fits well when evaluating the Asian culture. For instance, the communication domain can explain to the nurse why the sick do not share their feelings and the non-verbal gestures used in that culture. The nutrition domain can help one to understand the food that Asians take to combat certain illnesses. The health care practice domain shows the beliefs and measures that Asians take when faced with diseases. One can also understand how Asians perceive the health care providers using the health care domain.
It is prudent to consider factors that uphold cultural values as well as medical ethics when designing a plan of care for Asian patients (Orlando Regional Healthcare, 2004). Asian patients need nurses from their ethnicity to enhance communication. The nurse should not expect the patient to talk about any pain that they are experiencing. Nurses should instead look at body language and act towards it. The health care organization should hire a few Asian nurses to enhance ethnic communication. Food that Asians believe to promote health should be availed. A religious consultant, social worker, and an older family member should be available to improve service delivery. Identification of a referral facility is essential to help mitigate possible health adversities.
In conclusion, Asians uphold their culture in many issues including health care issues. The nurse should be aware of this culture to enhance harmony and quality services. It is necessary to use cultural assessment models in order to have a deep understanding of their culture. This model is also handy when developing a plan of care for patients from diverse cultures.
Euromed Info. (n.d.). How culture influences health beliefs. Web.
Khoury, A. et al. (2012). Cultural competence: why surgeons should care. Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons, 97(3), 13-18. Web.
Orlando Regional Healthcare. (2004). Providing Culturally Competent Care. Web.
Purnell, L. (2002). The Purnell model for cultural competence. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 13(3), 193-196. Web.
Wu, L. (2010). Towards Health Care Quality for Asian American. Web.