Navigating different cultural and religious practices of patients is difficult for many nurses. You might have taken core skills training framework, but still, offend a patient or their family by not knowing their cultural practice. Furthermore, you can witness something that is against your personal convictions or beliefs while performing your duties. When you find yourself in such a situation, it is essential to understand that there are certain routines such as decision-making, time orientation, touch, modesty and health beliefs that other cultures take for granted while to some they are severe matters.
Different People Have Different Cultural Beliefs
Some cultural practices may be fine for some people, while others might have different opinions. For instance, it is unethical for one family member to dictate medical care and related decisions for an old parent. What seems like common sense to you might be different from what other people believe in. That is why it is always vital for a health care provider to understand that different people have various cultural beliefs and this should not be an issue when you take core skills training framework and other courses.
Three Essential Practices That Help Develop Patient Interactions
It has become a global trend for health care providers to lean towards inclusivity, especially where personal and cultural practices are at the center stage. This means that caregivers have to be more knowledgeable and respond responsibly if cultural matters are involved. It is, therefore, the work of healthcare assistants to honor personal choices and beliefs even if they are not fully aware of how they work. Incorporating the practices below can make such interactions much more manageable and successful at the same time.
The most critical elements needed to pursue competent cultural care is to be able to identify your personal cultural beliefs before you can care for others. You may not be able to control your own biases if you are not aware of your culture. But self-awareness goes beyond identifying and examining your culture. It involves examining different assumptions and perceptions of your patient’s lifestyle.
Doctors with years of experience believe that healing starts by loving and accepting yourself for who you really are. However, acceptance only becomes a powerful tool if there is solidarity between the patient and the nurse. It may be impossible for a patient to love themselves if the caregiver is not willing to accept them with their different challenges and complexities. It is through that simple act of acceptance that makes the caregiver an agent of healing even if they are not aware of it.
There is No Harm in Asking
It is impossible to expect doctors and caregivers to practice cultural sensitivity all the time. This is mainly because most cultures and religions were developed centuries ago and continue to evolve with time. Therefore, the best way to clear any doubts when providing sensitive care to individuals with diverse cultural practices is by asking and knowing beforehand. Politely ask the patient to provide any cultural and religious beliefs that you need to be aware of before proceeding with the care and treatment.