Religion, as an integral component of society, has an impact on nearly every aspect of its life. Together with the cultural peculiarities of different ethnic groups, religion can have a significant impact on the process of care as well as communication with patients and their relatives. Therefore, a nurse should be aware of the cultural and religious peculiarities of national minorities to be ready to react to them when faced within a healthcare facility.
The case under consideration implies a situation where both cultural and religious aspects are involved. Thus, Mr. Meyers, an Orthodox Jew, took his wife to the hospital on Friday evening where she gave birth at midnight (Galanti, 2015). Because it was Sabbath, the man could not return home and thus created a problem for nurses with placing him at the hospital and raising the food question the next day. On the one hand, it was strange that the man could bring his wife to the hospital but could not get back home. Nevertheless, a culturally competent nurse should be aware of specific traditions followed by the representatives of different cultures and religions. Thus, observation of the Sabbath is a must for all Orthodox Jews. It is a period that should be spent with family in worshiping God (Galanti, 2015). Moreover, Torah explains the things that cannot be done by the Orthodox Jews on Sabbath, and all the actions necessary for getting home or buying food are in the list of those that should not be done. For example, the Orthodox Jews should not carry or fulfill any manipulations with money such as buying something (Eisenberg, n.d.). Still, the necessary actions are allowed in case someone’s life is in danger, and that was the case of Mr. Meyers. Thus, he brought his wife to the hospital in active labor to save her and their unborn baby, but could not return home because his life was not in danger.
As a nurse, either bedside or charge, I would probably act the same way as described in the case. Having knowledge about the peculiarities of traditions observed by the Orthodox Jews, nurses should treat them with understanding. Still, many nurses are not aware of these specific traditions because Jewish Americans rarely follow them (Giger, 2013). Nevertheless, the Orthodox Jews passionately observe all traditions including the Sabbath, and this particular feature should be kept in mind by nurses. In the case under consideration, nurses had no other alternative except to place Mr. Meyers in the room with his wife for one night. The same thing is about the resolution of the food issue. Certainly, bedside and charge nurses could not let the man starve. Therefore, ordering extra food for him and adding it to the bill was a proper decision.
Another solution could have been possible in case Mr. Meyers had any friends or relatives who were not Orthodox. In that case, a nurse could have phoned them and ask to take the man home or to bring him food or money. However, the man stated he did not have anyone to address in that situation because all of his friends were Orthodox and observed the Sabbath as well. Consequently, the actions of nurses were justified by the necessity to help a man allowing him to follow his faith and not to violate the traditions.
Eisenberg, R. (n.d.). Shabbat’s work prohibition. My Jewish Learning. Web.
Galanti, G. A. (2015). Caring for patients from different cultures: case studies from American hospitals (5th ed.). University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia, PA.
Giger, J. (2013). Transcultural nursing: Assessment and intervention (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.