They say each person is different, with different sets of personalities that set them aside and make them unique from one another. Each has their own needs and demands. In nursing, the importance of providing individualized nursing care to the patients is always emphasized. But how will one be able to do this?
In a ward full of patients, how will a nurse individualize care according to their needs? What about in other countries? Is the nursing care delivered in one country the same with what is delivered in another? Or are there any modifications considering the difference in beliefs and cultures?
Getting to know transcultural nursing
Madeleine Leininger, the founder of transcultural nursing, defined it as a humanistic and scientific area of formal study and practice in nursing which is focused upon differences and similarities among cultures with respect to human care, health, and illness based upon the people’s cultural values, beliefs, and practices, and to use this knowledge to provide cultural specific or culturally congruent nursing care to people. Its main goal is to provide culturally specific care.
A Transcultural Nurse is one who helps patients by providing culturally sensitive care to patients all over the world. They treat patients of different cultures which often include immigrants and refugees. While they work in foreign countries mostly, there are also times wherein they work in their own cities and apply their knowledge of diverse cultures to their local nursing position.
The role of the transcultural nurse often includes:
- Determining the client’s cultural heritage and language skills.
- Determining if any of his health beliefs relate to the cause of the illness or to the problem.
- Collecting information that any home remedies the person is taking to treat the symptoms.
- Evaluating their attitudes toward ethnic nursing care since self-evaluation helps the nurse to become more comfortable when providing care to clients from diverse backgrounds
- Understanding the influence of culture, race ðnicity on the development of social emotional relationship, child rearing practices & attitude toward health.
- Collecting information about the socioeconomic status of the family and its influence on their health promotion and wellness.
- Identifying the religious practices of the family and their influence on health promotion belief in families.
- Understanding the general characteristics of the major ethnic groups, but always individualizing care.
How can I become one?
In order to join this exciting bandwagon, one must follow these simple steps. First on the list is getting a Nursing Diploma, either am Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
After graduating, one must then take and pass the board exam which is the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to make sure that he/she is equipped with enough knowledge to practice as a professional nurse. Once you pass the exam, you can then work as a Registered Nurse and gather some work experience, more learnings and trainings. Then, lastly, you must pass the Transcultural Nurse Certification exam and finally become a Certified Transcultural Nurse.
Though we constantly try to provide holistic, individualized and culture sensitive nursing care, there are still times when we feel challenged. Though we don’t really need to have a complete understanding of the cultural and ethnic norms of all those who live in our society, we, nurses must make an effort to communicate with our patients and understand their needs so as to provide appropriate transcultural care.