Culture in the field of health care

Cultureis a major aspect of our lives which has many different layers and underlyingmeanings.

Three major cultural ideas that are discussed in the first chapter ofthe textbook include cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity, and culturalcompetence. Although all three terms are similar, they all have their owndistinct meanings. According to the textbook, cultural awareness is an”appreciation of the external signs of diversity” (Purnell, 2013, p. 7). When aperson is culturally aware, they will be able to appreciate and understand thedifferences between cultures and use that knowledge to their advantage when communicatingwith people of different cultures. On the other hand, cultural sensitivityemphasizes the emotions and attitudes that go along with certain cultures. Whena person is culturally sensitive, they will take extra precautions to avoidsaying or doing things that may be inappropriate to certain cultures.

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(Purnell,2013, p. 7). Being culturally sensitive also includes respecting people ofother cultures and their beliefs. For example, if you are in a culture where itis custom to greet people with a hug, it would be culturally sensitive toensure that you greet others with a hug instead of a handshake or wave.  Lastly, cultural competence is ability ofthose in the field of health care to effectively treat patients of differentcultures. In order for a health care provider to be cultural competent theymust have knowledge about the patient’s culture and know what skills line upwith the needs of that culture (Purnell, 2013, p. 7).

It is important forhealth care providers to have cultural competence because it will benefit boththe patient and the person providing the care. If a nurse cannot effectivelycommunicate or care for a patient of a different culture, it can lead toconfusion or even a slower recovery process for the patient.            As you can see, cultural awareness,cultural sensitivity, and cultural competence all have similar definitions andare all highly important in the health care field. A health care professionalshould have all three qualities in order to be able to give the best possiblecare to people of different cultures.

If a person is both culturally aware andculturally sensitive, they will be better prepared to give culturally competentcare to their patients.  It is obvious thatas a nurse, culture will have a huge role in my career and it is important thatI understand the many components of culture within our society.  

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