Academic journal article Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession

A Partnership of a Catholic Faith-Based Health System, Nursing and Traditional American Indian Medicine Practitioners

Academic journal article Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession

A Partnership of a Catholic Faith-Based Health System, Nursing and Traditional American Indian Medicine Practitioners

Article excerpt

Healthcare systems are increasingly adapting their services and programs to comply with global trends toward providing cultural care accommodation for culturally diverse client populations and professionals. The purpose of this paper is to present a historical discussion of the past experiences from one Catholic faith-based urban hospital in the American Southwest regarding the accommodation of the spiritual beliefs and practices of American Indian (Native American/Alaska Native) clients and staff who were practicing traditional Indian medicine (TIM). These experiences may hold possible applications for other healthcare systems in the United States and-or Australia which are both facing current challenges to provide culturally sensitive care for increasingly diverse patient populations. In Australia, nurses have been encouraged to learn about providing culturally appropriate and safe nursing care for the Australian Indigenous peoples, Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, with an open minded approach (Goold 2001). In both the United States and Australia, nurses are urged to examine their own beliefs and philosophy of life as a basis for understanding and practicing culturally sensitive care. In addition, the foundation of Leininger's (1988; 2006) theory of Culture Care Diversity and Universality (Culture Care Theory) is applied as a framework for the discussion of these experiences and the partnerships created among and between the cultures of the TIM practitioners (referred to as traditional Indian medicine people), the Southwestern American Indian clients, nursing and other healthcare providers, and the Catholic faithbased healthcare system which was the main source of hospital and professional healthcare services in the region.

BACKGROUND

The United States (USA) population is becoming progressively more diverse (Office of Minority Health 2001; US Census Bureau 2000a); by 2010, minority cultures (non-EuroAmerican lineage) will represent 32% of the national population, increasing to 50% by the year 2050. In the 2000 Census, 4.3 million people (or 1.5 % of the total US population) self identified as American Indian or Alaska Native (United States Census 2000b). This number included 2.4 million people (or 1%) who reported American Indian or Alaska Native as their sole race.

Therefore, healthcare systems and professionals are being challenged to provide diverse populations with culturally competent nursing and health skills as part of their healthcare services. Federal healthcare regulatory standards under the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health (2001), designated the Nationally Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) standards for healthcare in order to support a more consistent and comprehensive approach to cultural and linguistic competence in services and to decrease healthcare disparities. Many healthcare systems are addressing the standards, which are also interpreted to include the provision of opportunities for culturally specific spiritual accommodations. In addition, the interest among Western healthcare providers about traditional, Indigenous practices among shamans or healers continues to grow (Leininger 2002a: 145). As nurses are the largest group of healthcare providers, they have the opportunities to incorporate culturally sensitive and congruent care to meet the CLAS standards, into their daily practices.

Healthcare systems consist of a vast array of cultures and subcultures among and between the client populations, employees, professional disciplines, and the organisational structures, and yet they have historically functioned with 'unicultural' views and policies (Gardenswartz & Rowe 1998; Gropper 1996; Leininger 1997). Acknowledgment of the existence of many healthcare systems' unicultural perspectives, including ethnocentric views (knowing what is best), leading to ethnocentric actions (having the best decisions), is a positive step to include new actions that enhance culturally sensitive care (Leininger 2002b: 50-51, 2006: 53-54). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.