Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

USING AN ECLECTIC MODEL to Educate Students about Cultural Influences on the Nurse-Patient Relationship

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

USING AN ECLECTIC MODEL to Educate Students about Cultural Influences on the Nurse-Patient Relationship

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

This article describes how the concepts of cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity, and cultural competence are integrated into the nursing curriculum at Lehman College, City University of New York. A culturally diverse student population engaged in lectures, classroom exercises, and clinical experiences in order to learn the ideas and imperatives of cultural diversity in nursing care. The exercises were problem-based learning experiences guided by a university-developed model for teaching students to understand cultural diversity. The model is derived from Leininger's comparative cultural caring model and Paterson and Zderad's humanistic nursing model. By observing differences and similarities among diverse cultures, students learned that the assignment of cultural attributes is an inexact process and should be organized as hints rather than as certainties. Students also learned the importance of integrating cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity, and cultural competence into their nursing care.

Key Words Culture - Teaching Models - Diversity - Nursing Education - Cultural Competence

CULTURAL DIVERSITY IS EMBLEMATIC OF LEHMAN COLLEGE OF THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK (CUNY). FORTY-THREE PERCENT OF CUNY STUDENTS WERE BORN OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES STUDENTS ORIGINATE FROM 167 COUNTRIES AND SPEAK 119 NATIVE LANGUAGES; 49 PERCENT HAVE A NATIVE LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH AT ONE TIME AT LEHMAN COLLEGE, 16 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN WERE, REPRESENTED IN ONE CLASS OF 25 STUDENTS (1). * Lehman's diversity provides the opportunity to educate students about a myriad of cultures. The school of nursing builds on this opportunity with classroom exercises founded on problem-based learning techniques. Through assignments that ask students to examine an individual's cultural attributes and sensitivities, students are actively involved in the learning process (2). * Healthy People 2010 (3) points out that sensitivity to culturally inherent meanings of individuals is an obligation of health care providers. Such sensitivity facilitates the delivery of quality care and has the potential to enhance patient outcomes. It is therefore the responsibility of nurse educators to familiarize students with the cultural issues that impose themselves on nursing care. THIS ARTICLE SHOWS HOW THE LEHMAN FACULTY HAVE TAKEN ON THIS CHALLENGE.

Cultural Issues in Nursing In its broadest sense, culture is the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, predominating attitudes, and other products of human work and thought that characterize the functioning of a group (4). All the characteristics of the everyday life of a people represent the whole of its culture and become markers by which cultural assignments are made. These include physical characteristics, learned behaviors, social organization, and language, values, and beliefs that are the expression of a particular racial, national, or tribal group. Culture can also refer to social class or belonging to a special population, for example, middle class or disabled.

Examples of how culture affects our daily life may be found in the various nuances of communication and language that are intrinsic to the way members of a group express the meanings of situations. Understanding language usages associated with members of particular groups provides insight into the meanings assigned by them to their current situation (5).

Cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity, and cultural competence are not new concerns for nursing practice and nursing education. It has been argued for at least 45 years that knowledge of patients' cultural attributes affects the quality of nursing care (6). Recognition of and responsiveness to cultural differences are considered central to providing quality care (6-8). Moreover, the failure to recognize a patient's culture and customs can have a negative impact on the patient (3). For example, the child brought to a nurse practitioner complaining of stomach pain and thirst may be wrongly diagnosed as diabetic if the nurse is unaware that certain foods are commonly eaten by persons of the child's ethnic background (6). …

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