Multicultural Clients: A Professional Handbook for Health Care Providers and Social Workers

Multicultural Clients: A Professional Handbook for Health Care Providers and Social Workers

Multicultural Clients: A Professional Handbook for Health Care Providers and Social Workers

Multicultural Clients: A Professional Handbook for Health Care Providers and Social Workers

Synopsis

A professor of nursing, whose expertise is in multicultural health care and social services, describes the basic attitudes and beliefs of 15 important ethnic and religious groups in America and shows how these traits can affect behavior during illness or during social work interventions. Sensitive to problems of stereotyping, each chapter on an immigrant group describes its homeland and population in the United States, its modes of communication, its socioeconomic status, chief of complaints, traditional family system, religious beliefs, views toward the elderly, child-rearing practices, culturally based health beliefs and practices, dietary patterns, characteristics relating to morbidity and mortality, beliefs about death and dying, physical assessment, and sources for further readings.

Excerpt

Ask not what kind of disease a person has, ask what kind of person has the disease.

--Sir William Osler, 1849-1919

The United States is the most ethnically diverse nation in the world. Its residents represent over 100 ethnic, racial, and cultural groups from every part of the world (Hopkins-Kavanagh &Kennedy, 1992). According to U.S. Census projections, by the middle of the twenty-first century, the average U.S. resident will trace his or her ancestry to Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, or the Hispanic or Arab countries rather than to European roots. This theory is known as the "browning of America" (Henry, 1990).

Although the melting pot concept has frequently been ascribed to American society, a more accurate description would be a mixed salad. the melting pot concept tends to ignore the unique qualities that ethnic groups contribute to society by assuming generalized acculturation, the process whereby cultural differences are minimized and ethnic groups adopt the aspects of the majority culture (Fuller &Schaller-Ayers, 1990). That many ethnic groups prefer to maintain their uniqueness is observed in public demonstrations that manifest a sense of pride in their ethnic differences promoting a "we" feeling among their members (Mindel,Haberstein &Wright, 1988). Therefore the mixed salad concept better describes this society, a complementary combination of various elements. Just as the magnificence of nature is attributed to its diversity, so the uniqueness of America is contingent on its diversity.

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