Presentation Topic: Understanding Health in Cultural Communities Asma Noreen M.Sc.

Nursing Student, College of Nursing, JPMC, Karachi ABSTRACT Understanding health in communities means recognizing the powerful roles played by the culture of communities. Developing sensitive communication requires patients and providers to negotiate care, support, and more empathic and ethical treatment, and determine what is critical and compromising. Many dilemmas arise in health care when providers and patients do not understand each others’ perspectives leading to many cultural misunderstandings. Many patients, families and providers find themselves in the borderlands between diverse beliefs, values and behaviors. Patients and providers must consider that our past, present or anticipated health status influences people’s memberships in different communities. The knowledge and power of patients, families and providers is shaped by cultural backgrounds. Enhancing understanding of health means that providers and patients need to communicate honestly and build supportive, trusting relationships. Cultures must be viewed as dynamic, and health care providers must take into consideration the differences among cultures when deciding on a plan of care. Health professionals must consider their own cultural beliefs and values to be able to understand the cultural beliefs and values of others. As a result of the need to incorporate humanistic knowledge into health care, providers are turning to allopathic, or complementary, medicine that incorporates biomedical and alternative/traditional therapies.

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