Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Transcultural Nursing: Its Importance in Nursing Practice

Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Transcultural Nursing: Its Importance in Nursing Practice

Article excerpt

Abstract: Transcultural nursing is an essential aspect of healthcare today. The ever-increasing multicultural population in the United States poses a significant challenge to nurses providing individualized and holistic care to their patients. This requires nurses to recognize and appreciate cultural differences in healthcare values, beliefs, and customs. Nurses must acquire the necessary knowledge and skills in cultural competency. Culturally competent nursing care helps ensure patient satisfaction and positive outcomes. This article discusses changes that are important to transcultural nursing. It identifies factors that define transcultural nursing and analyzes methods to promote culturally competent nursing care. The need for transcultural nursing will continue to be an important aspect in health-care. Additional nursing research is needed to promote transcultural nursing.

Key Words: Nursing, Transcultural Nursing, Nursing Practice, Importance of Transcultural Nursing

Transcultural nursing has become a key component in Healthcare and a requirement for today's practicing nurses because of the soaring multicultural phenomenon occurring in our American population. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census (2000), over 30% of the total population, or one out of every three persons in the United States (U.S.), is comprised of various ethnicities other than non-Hispanic Whites. This statistic highlights that the U.S. has a significant multicultural population today. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Commerce (2000) projects a steadily growing population of persons from ethnicities other than non-Hispanic Whites, comprising 50% of the whole population by 2050.

Yet, while the U.S. population continues to rapidly grow in diversity, nurses have remained a homogenous group. Approximately 90% of all Registered Nurses are Caucasian. Although Hispanics have become the majority minority in the U.S. (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000), it is estimated that there are only 2% Hispanic Registered Nurses in the nursing profession ((Minority Nursing Statistics, 2005). The escalating cultural diversity in the U.S. population and the few number of non-Caucasian registered nurses calls attention to the need for addressing the issue of transcultural nursing.

Because of the escalating multicultural society in the United States, transcultural nursing is a vital constituent of nursing care, mandating that nurses are culturally competent in their daily practice. Culturally competent nurses have knowledge of other cultural ways and are skilled in identifying particular cultural patterns so that an individualized care plan is formulated that will help meet the established healthcare goals for that patient (Gustafson, 2005).

Additionally, nursing practice includes providing care that is holistic. This holistic approach in nursing addresses the physical, psychological, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of patients. It is important to emphasize that nurses must identify and meet these needs in order to provide individualized care, which has been stipulated as a patient's right and a hallmark of professional nursing practice (Locsin, 2001).

Holistic care means planning care to meet patients' individual needs. In order to provide holistic care, nurses must also account for cultural differences in their care plans. This helps ensure that nurses provide holistic care because care plans are formulated based on individuals' needs and cultures. Thus, nurses must be culturally competent in order to provide optimal care for their patients. Most important, nurses need to maintain cultural competency in their daily practice to instill in their patients a feeling of being known and cared for as individuals in a very complex Healthcare system and culturally diverse society.

DEFINITION OF CULTURAL COMPETENCE

Nursing has borrowed from the social work to define cultural competence. Social workers describe cultural competence as a continual process of striving to become increasingly self-aware, to value diversity, and to become knowledgeable about cultural strengths (Bonecutter & Gleeson, 1997). …

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