Today, more than ever before, health care organizations need to adopt and implement culturally competent practices because healthcare workers are recruited from diverse cultural backgrounds, bringing into the organization a multiplicity of beliefs, value systems, religious orientations, demands and expectations (Pearson et al., 2007; Purnell, 2013). This paper discusses a case scenario involving a Jewish registered nurse and culturally competent workplace practices.
Considering & Honoring Lisa’s Request
The registered nurse has requested the health facility’s management to allow her disengage from work-related activities from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening in line with the tenets governing a practicing and observant Jew. Her request, in my view, is valid to the extent that it conforms to the belief of Judaism that the Sabbath is the Jewish holy day beginning on Friday at sundown and continuing to sundown on Saturday (Raphael, n.d.). During this time, most religious and observant Jews are barred from engaging in any form of work, not mentioning that they are also neither allowed to handle cash transactions nor take part in writing.
It is important for the management to honor this request if the registered nurse is expected to continue being productive and innovative in the workplace. Extant literature demonstrates that culturally incompetent management practices may have long-lasting emotional, psychological, physical and productive consequences on employees (Pearson et al., 2007; Purnell, 2013). In this light, it is important for the management to honor Lisa’s request by assigning her more nursing roles during weekdays to free up her weekends so that she may take part in all religious activities as demanded by the Jewish culture. Training of other care workers in cultural competent practices within the organization is also critical in ensuring that Lisa’s work colleagues understand her demands and stop labeling her as “standoffish” (Carol, 2007).
In dismissing Lisa’s request to be allowed time off from work to participate in religious observance, the supervisor of the health facility is demonstrating culturally incompetent behaviors, management practices as well as institutional policies. Extant literature demonstrates that management should always strive to provide an organizational environment that is inclusive of cultural and other forms of diversity to spur creativity, innovation and productivity among employees (Purnell, 2013). Supervisors and managers of health provider agencies should address needs and demands of culturally diverse employees not only to enhance their productive capacities, but also to ensure that care providers operate in favorable and encouraging environments that are supportive of their needs and expectations (Pearson et al., 2007).
Issue of Team Meeting
In the case scenario, it is clear that Lisa brings her own food to staff lunch meetings to keep some level of kosher as demanded by the Jewish culture. Consequently, Lisa should present her concerns by clarifying to the management and fellow workmates the reasons behind bringing her own food and what this implies to her desire to be a practicing and observant Jew. Sharing information, education and training are critical in promoting a culturally competent workplace (Pearson et al., 2007; Purnell, 2013). In this regard, Lisa needs to explain to relevant stakeholders that food is considered Kosher in the Jewish tradition if it is prepared under the supervision of a mashgiach and if it does not include eating pork and mixing meat with dairy products (Raphael, n.d.). Since it is important for practicing and observant Jews to practice Kosher, Lisa also needs to explain that she carries her food from home to meet the basic requirements of the Jewish tradition, but also to reap from the spiritual strength and nourishment associated with Kosher.
Carol, R. (2007). Providing cultural competency training for your nursing staff. MinorityNurse. Web.
Pearson, A., Srivastava, R., Craig, D., Tucker, D., Grinspun, D., Bajnok, I…Gi, A.A. (2007). Systematic review on embracing cultural diversity for developing and sustaining a healthy work environment in heath care. International Journal of Evidence-Based Health Care, 5(1), 54-91.
Purnell, L.D. (2013). Transcultural health care: A culturally competent care (4th ed.). Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.
Raphael, B. (n.d.). Cultural competence manual for working with the Jewish population. Web.