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    Culture of American Medicine (1505 words)

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    Nurses’ come in contact with many different patients with many different backgrounds. Nurses must build trusting relationships with their patients to give them adequate care. To do this, nurses must become cultural competency, “the attitudes, knowledge, and skills necessary for providing quality care to diverse populations” (Jarvis pg. 19). To achieve cultural competency, one must have self-awareness of one’s own culture, heritage, and health and illness beliefs. Throughout this paper, I will assess my own heritage and culture while comparing and contracting with my lab partner, SB.

    The county that I reside in is Patrick County, Virginia. This is a rural county in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia. The county has a population of approximately seventeen thousand people. There is approximately twenty percent of residents that live below the poverty rate.

    The largest employer in the county is the school system. I am an only child. My parents are schoolteachers and I am a second-generation college student. Unlike rural Patrick County Virginia, SB is from Manassas Virginia. Manassas Virginia is more of a suburban area, with a population of approximately forty-one thousand people.

    The poverty rate in Manassas is substantially lower than Patrick County with a rate of nine percent. SB has two brothers, one being her twin. She is athletic and is on the soccer team at Radford University. The differences versus the similarities between SB and myself in heritage, culture, and whatever will possibly be greater. The reason for this will because of our demographic areas that we reside in.


    When caring for a patient, it can be helpful to find similarities between heritage, culture, health beliefs, and practices. By discovering these similarities this will allow the nurse to build a close repour with the patient. Breast cancer is known as one of the most common cancers. Due to this information, it was not surprising to discover that breast cancer runs in SB and I’s family. This increase our chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the future.

    SB grew up playing soccer and is currently on the Radford University soccer team. I grew up playing travel sports including volleyball and softball at a young age and continued to participate in volleyball throughout high school. Since we have this similarly in our culture, we believe that the best way to prevent illness is though the use of primary prevention. Primary prevention includes exercise, eating healthy, and supplements.

    We agree that in order to prevent illness we must treat our body correctly. One of the biggest similarities between us is our some of our health and illness beliefs. We both are Christians and believe in the power of prayer. SB and I believe in praying and looking to God for peace and comfort when faced with illness. We both are active members in our church. Even though SB and I come from different areas on Virginia we both still have many similarities in our heritage, customs, and beliefs.


    It is very important to discover the differences between the patient and the nurse. Cultural imposition can be easy to do when the nurses and patients’ culture, herniary, and health beliefs are not aliened. When the nurse evaluates their own heritage and culture, it brings attention and awareness that everyone has backgrounds and cultures and nurses must provide care for everyone. SB and I have relatively different cultures and backgrounds.

    I am an only child and so is my mother, in contrast to SB who has two brothers. SB is from Manassas, Virginia, which is more of a suburban environment. SB’s family has many different backgrounds. Her father is from Vincenza, Italy, her mother is from Boston, and her grandparents are from New York City. SB participates in her family’s ethnic actives.

    Both sides of my family are from the same area in Virginia. I live in Patrick County, Virginia with is considered part of the Appalachian area. Appalachian culture is known for being very poor and outdated. In this area, many things are not as accessible, one being health care. Where I am from there is no local hospitals and it takes forty-five minutes for an ambulate to reach most homes.

    Due to our lack ability of health care it takes a team effort to transport and care for each member of my family. I see my family at least once or twice a week. Since we live in proximity to one other, we work together to care for the elders in our family. This mainly includes driving them to doctor appointments that are at least forty-five minutes away. SB’s only gets to see her extended family about twice a year, because they live all over the United States. It would be hard for to only see my family considering we depend on each other for care.

    Proving Health Care to Native American Women

    We are living in a world now where we need to be aware of cultural trends while also respecting the patient’s preferences. Nurses must use evidence-based practice to provide quality care with respect to the patient. Evidence-based practice simply refers to combining research, clinical knowledge, and patient preferences to reach a health care decision. The goal of evidence-based practice is simple: provide care that is safe, effective, and compassionate.

    In the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing writes about caring for a Native American woman during and after her pregnancy. Native American health care beliefs represent ages of tradition and contain religion and medicine. They have holistic views of health care that is practiced by various tribal groups. According to the article there are more than 500 federally recognized tribes and more that 100 state and nonfederal recognized tribes and bands, each with traditions and beliefs.

    When caring for a patient the care plan should be individual but gaining an understanding of the Native American family culture could be helpful in planning. Many tribes have a common similarity, they sometimes have a three-generation extended family. Discipline and education are delegated to grandparents, aunts and uncles leaving economic matters and social interaction to the biological parents.

    When offering care to Native American descent, a nurse must decide who will be the primary caregiver of the newborn. If there is indication that a grandmother or other relative will be providing a significant portion of the care for her newborn the nurse should include any family member in the care giving instruction.

    Women play a major part in the Native American matrilineal. In a matrilineal community the children belong to the mother’s clan. The women are the decision makers. They are respected, influential and verbal in making health care and family decisions. It is important for the nurse includes the family matriarch in the care and teaching plan. If the nurse gains the approval it will make supporting the care plan more successful.

    When being admitted to the hospital there are many forms to sign. Native Americans are sometimes apprehensive about signing papers due to distrust from past history. To provide trust a health care provider needs to be patient and allow enough time for the family to consult with a tribal elder or the matriarch so that a signature can be given.

    Native Americans heritage still hold the medicine man or woman in high esteem in the tribe and they continue to plan an important role in health care. They use items such as feathers, cornmeal, grasses, rocks or medicine bags in healing rituals. When these items are placed on or near the patient every effort should be made to avoid disturbing them. In most cases, traditional health care can continue without disturbing the objects.

    Sometimes just watching and listening are perfect ways to understand a culture. Being respectful and courtesy are excellent educational plans when the learner is receptive. The article states that the first step in cultural understanding is to develop an educational program with methods and materials.

    Healthcare professionals must be mindful about health care beliefs and practice culturally sensitive practice, education and research. Spending time with the patient, building relationships and caring can go along way building a relationship with patients. When a nurse has a desire to provide quality healthcare it will be likely be apparent and perceived in a positive manner by any cultural heritage.


    Even though SB and I come from different parts of the state we have found out that we share similarities and differences. The biggest difference would be the access to health care due to the different geographic location in which we live. In this current day and age; culture, heritage, health and illness beliefs are increasing.

    Communication and understanding between nurses and patients are an important role. Hospitals should provide more training through educational videos and materials to their staff. Nurses should be culturally educated. Nursing works in a way that continually meets the needs of patients who represent different cultures, heritage and health and illness beliefs within our society. This plays a role in continually strengthening the world of nursing.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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