This week we focused on the Native American culture. Before this week I thought that most Native Americans were in bad health, alcoholic, and living off of government money. This week I became very educated and gained more respect for the culture. I focused a lot of my learned on their general problems with healthcare. Native Americans have a much higher infant mortality rate than the general population. They also have one of the highest smoking rates among pregnant mothers. Most of the healthcare problems they experience are related to obesity and lack of physical activity. The leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, and unintentional injury. Suicide rates among Native Americans are also high and might be related to the high rates of mental disorders and disabilities in the culture. When I am a nurse, it will be important for me to communicate with this culture. Most of the healthcare problems being experienced haven’t been in their culture very long so education will also be very important.
This week we focused on the Deaf culture. I didn’t know that deaf was really considered a culture until I started reading some of the information this week. I learned a lot about healthcare and the deaf population. The number of deaf people in the US is increasing because people are living longer, people are more exposed to loud sounds, and increased screening with newborns. People who use ASL as their primary language are at risk for inadequate assessment, limited access to treatment, insufficient follow-up, and poorer outcomes. Statistics also show that the deaf culture doesn’t use preventative services very often. Because of this, they are more at risk for cardiovascular complications, obesity, anxiety, and depression. This culture is also more at risk for unplanned pregnancies, intimate partner violence, and STIs. This is probably related to lack of education on medical topics and not being able to communicate clearly with healthcare professionals. One of the people in my group shared information on cochlear implants in children. Many deaf parents want their children to get the implants so that they can adjust to and live in the US better. However, the parents are worried that the child won’t be able to learn ASL if they get the implants. From this weeks information, I have learned that it is very important to use a translator if possible. It seems like there are many problems with communication with this culture. It’s also important to make sure that you and your patient understand each other so that no complications occur.
This week we focused on the Hindu culture. I haven’t had very much interaction with Hindus during my life. I knew that they had dots on their foreheads, thought cows were sacred, and were in charge of the color festival in Spanish Fork every year. I learned about their beliefs in music this week. Hindus don’t view music as a form of entertainment but as a way to receive moral and spiritual redemption. They believe that music focuses on spiritual emotion and is a means to move towards a higher consciousness. Music is used in Hindu worship through hymns and mantras. I also learned about some of their dietary restrictions. They believe that follow dietary restrictions can lead them towards a higher consciousness. Most Hindus are strict vegetarians, but this can vary from person to person. When I am a nurse, it will be important for me to clarify a persons diet and not just assume that they follow their cultural diet. I also learned that Hindus don’t gamble, drink alcohol, or participate in sex outside of marriage or for reasons other than procreation. One of the people in my group also talked about Hindu death rituals. Most Hindus prefer to die at home, but if death is occurring in the hospital the rituals will still be followed. It’s important to communicate with the patient and family to know what they would like to do in this situation. When I’m a nurse, the most important thing I can do with Hindu patients is communicate about their care and treatment.
This week we focused on the Muslim culture. Before looking at the material this week, I didn’t know very much about Muslims. I knew that they didn’t eat pork and that they didn’t use birth control but that was about it. I learned a lot about their dietary restrictions. Muslims don’t consume anything with pork or blood products in it. The meat that they eat has to have been killed following Halal conditions. They practice fasting during a month call Ramadan. They do not eat or drink anything between sunrise and sunset. An article I read stated that some Muslims are afraid to eat while they’re in the hospital because they think that their food will be cross-contaminated with pork. As a nurse, I will be aware of their dietary restrictions and find ways to work with them. I also learned that some women in the Muslim culture do use contraceptive methods. The most popular ones right now are oral contraceptives and IUDs. As a nurse, I will still talk about birth control methods because a woman of this culture might be interested in the information I give her.
This week we focused on the Catholic culture. I grew up in a strong Catholic community and knew a little bit about Catholic traditions but I wasn’t aware of a lot of their beliefs and how their church worked. I learned a lot about their beliefs on the afterlife. They believe that after we die there are three stages of being: heaven, purgatory, and hell. Heaven is a place of perfect joy and peace. Purgatory is the place that people go to be cleansed of their sins through punishment. Once people have passed through purgatory they can progress on to heaven. Hell is a place where people are completely removed from God’s presence. I also learned about the organization in their church. It is lead by the Pope. After the Pope, there are Cardinals which can also be bishops. Bishops are over the priests in the church. I also learned that during Lent, Catholics can eat fish on Friday. This explains why the cafeteria in my school seemed to like fish so much right before Easter. I will use all this information I learned to better care for people of the Catholic culture. I will be aware of dietary needs during lent and will be respectful of their beliefs.
Before studying the information this week, I thought that most homeless people had substance abuse problems and mental disorders. I learned this week that that is not always the case. The movie Pursuit of Happyness gave me some insight into the situations that homeless people face every day. I also realized that sometimes bad things happen to people and they can’t change them no matter how hard they work. I gained much more respect and compassion for this culture this week. I specifically researched the homeless culture and healthcare. It’s really hard for anyone of this culture to have access to healthcare because of money, transportation, insurance, and phones. Many people in this culture don’t seek medical attention until the problem is out of control. I also learned that most of the diseases seen in this culture are chronic and usually not managed well. I will use this information in my nursing career by being respectful and compassionate to people of this culture, listening and trying to understand their situation, and providing the most realistic discharge teaching possible.
Before this week in class, all I knew about the Jehovah’s Witnesses was that they didn’t take blood transfusions and that they really liked knocking on my door when I was growing up. I learned that there is much more to them than just that this week. I specifically researched a lot about their policies on holidays and birthdays. The only holiday they celebrate is Christ’s death. They believe that every other holiday is a Pagan holiday and they try to stick with how the first-generation Christians worshiped. I also learned this week that they don’t believe in participating in war or politics. I think that would be a very hard thing to do, especially during times of war. I thought that it was rather courageous of them to stick to their beliefs and refuse to fight during WWII. This information will all be very helpful in providing nursing care to people of this culture. I now have a lot more knowledge of and respect for this culture.
This week in Transcultural Nursing we studied the LDS culture. Because UVU is in Utah, the LDS culture is one that is seen frequently in the clinical setting. I was raised and am still part of the LDS culture, but it was still nice to study the subject and share my thoughts with my classmates.
During the week, I did some research on the Word of Wisdom (the LDS set of dietary restrictions). The LDS culture has restrictions on coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. It is also advised that people follow portion size, don’t waste food, and don’t overindulge. The LDS culture also participates in fasting every month to show self-control and humility. The money saved on food while fasting is donated to the less fortunate. The Word of Wisdom is discussed in the LDS book of scripture called The Doctrine and Covenants in Section 89. One of people in my group mentioned all the things that the money saved while fasting can be used for: natural disaster relief, clean water, wheelchairs, and immunizations.
One of the people in my group also mentioned the LDS culture’s view on family. The LDS church leaders have been seen a lot in the media lately defending their stand point on the family. The culture believes that marriage is between a man and woman lawfully wedded as husband and wife. The LDS culture also believes that males and females have separate and defined roles in the family unit. Men should provide and protect the family. Women are responsible for the caring for and nurturing children. All of this information can be found in the document The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
This week I learned how broad of a term cultural diversity really is. I did some research on cultural diversity in palliative care. One of the articles I read said that one of the best ways to provides culturally competent care is to identify your own prejudices, gain knowledge about cultures, and apply the skills and information you have learned. It’s also very important to ask the patient what is important to them and how they would like to be cared for.
This week I also got to watch the movie The Good Lie. I really enjoyed this movie. It was the story of The Lost Boys of Sudan. The movie was able to depict how important it is for people to adjust to new cultures and situations in order to care for and love each other. Throughout a lot of the movie I was annoyed because the professionals didn’t want to get too involved with the men they were caring for. I will never do this in my nursing career. I want my patients to feel comfortable in expressing cares and concerns to me and I want to be willing to listen.
My name is Tara Taylor. I was born in Alamosa, Colorado. I am the oldest child and have one sister and two brothers. I am currently engaged and will be getting married on May 30th. I am creating this journal to keep track of my learning and experiences in my Transcultural Nursing class. I’m taking this class to help me become a better nurse and to count as credit towards my BSN.