Discuss the influence of culture on health care practices, and how can nurses incorporate cultural sensitivity into their practice

Essay by loverofessaysUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, January 2009

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Current society demonstrates the need for appropriate health care practises that implement cultural sensitivity. This essay will discuss that in order for a nurse to develop therapeutic benefits for the patient it is essential for the nurse to display cultural sensitivity. It will firstly discuss the meanings of culture, cultural diversity and cultural sensitivity, followed on by the multiculturalism in Australia and the differences between western culture and Muslim culture and lastly what a nurse needs to practice in order to achieve cultural sensitivity.

In order to understand culturally sensitive nursing care it is valuable to first understand what culture and culture diversity means. In today's society, culture is defined as a shared system of values, beliefs, ideas, rituals and learned patterns of behaviour and is not simply defined by ethnicity (Galanti, 2004). A person's culture can be shaped by age, gender, religion, education and lifes experiences. Each individual is culturally unique and every aspect of a person's life is influenced by their culture (Belancourt, Carrilli, Green, 1999 & White, 2004).

Cultural diversity is the variety of human societies or cultures living and interacting together in a specific region (Belancourt et al. 2004). Therefore knowledge of cultural diversity is an important base in all levels of nursing care to in order to achieve cultural sensitivity.

Culturally sensitive nursing care recognises the need for respect and acknowledgement of the wholeness of all human beings, regardless of culture, religion or race. According to Seibert, Stridh-Igo & Zimmerman (2002, p 143) "Knowledge of the patients culture and awareness to its basic premises is imperative for quality treatment and recovery". Indeed culturally sensitive nursing care is a required factor that must be practiced (Happell, Manias & Pinikahana, 2003). In today's society the recognition of cultural differences and their impact on health care practices become...