Academic journal article Creative Nursing

Concept Analysis of Culture Applied to Nursing

Academic journal article Creative Nursing

Concept Analysis of Culture Applied to Nursing

Article excerpt

Culture is an important concept, especially when applied to nursing. A concept analysis of culture is essential to understanding the meaning of the word. This article applies Rodgers' (2000) concept analysis template and provides a definition of the word culture as it applies to nursing practice. This article supplies examples of the concept of culture to aid the reader in understanding its application to nursing and includes a case study demonstrating components of culture that must be respected and included when providing health care.

Keywords: culture; nursing; concept analysis; transcultural nursing; individual differences

The concept of culture has evolved during the past several centuries. As with many words in the English language, the word culture has various meanings, including growing bacteria in a medium and a love of fine food, wine, music, and art. Nurses and other health care professionals have a vested interest in under- standing how culture applies to patient care. This article explores the aspects of the concept of culture with special applications to nursing and health care.


Knowing the history of a word is important in understanding how it is used today. The first known use of the word culture was in 43 BCE by the Roman philosopher Cicero in the Tuscalan Disputations to mean a development or cultivation of the soul (Whiston & White, 1758). Eventually, the use of the word culture evolved; in Europe in the late 18th century, it was used to indicate an improvement or culti- vation of the soil to grow plants. In the 19th century, a prevalent use of the word indicated that the mind had been expanded and developed in the arts, sciences, and language. In his book Primitive Culture: Researches into the Development of My- thology, Philosophy, Religion, Art, and Custom, anthropologist Edward Tylor (1871) used the term culture to describe the collective background of an individual based on the individual's understanding of the world; this use of the concept is familiar to us today in providing nursing care to culturally diverse patient populations.

Today, the use of the word culture as a verb can mean developing a pearl in an oyster or preparing soil to yield fruit or other desired horticultural goods. In a biochemical setting, a culture provides a means to study a substance using a me- dium that supports its growth (Teng, Yi, Sun, & Zhang, 2011). The use of the word as a means for development is relevant to nursing and the health care setting in that an individual's culture is determined in part by his or her home environment (Abraham et al., 2011). Culture can also mean a united form of human manners that includes the feelings, communications, arrangements, traditions, dogmas, be- liefs, and associations of a racial, ethnic, religious, or social group (Cross, Bazron, Dennis, & Isaacs, 1989).

The relevant definition of culture depends on the setting and the perspective of the person defining it. As applied to the nursing profession, the term relates to a sociological and anthropological definition of culture, which is the complex, comprehensive embodiment of learned behavior. Tylor (1871) wrote that culture includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, customs, and any additional compe- tencies and habits acquired by man as a member of a people group (a group of people who share similar backgrounds and beliefs). Defining the word culture in the context of nursing is relevant for us because of the many ways in which the word can be used. The health care infrastructure, including the role of nursing, involves caring for individuals from different people groups, such as people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds or from any other shared identity that pro- vides a framework by which people define who they are.

The nursing profession has made great advances in the understanding of cul- ture as it relates to health practices and beliefs. …

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