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Cultural Diversity in Nursing Practice

Effective Date: October 22, 1991 Status: New Position Statement Originated by: Council on Cultural Diversity in Nursing Practice, Congress of Nursing Adopted by: ANA Board of Directors Related Past Action: Cultural Diversity in Nursing, 1986 ANA House of Delegate Summary This statement describes the features of an operational definition of cultural diversity as it is expressed in nursing practice, education, administration and research. (note: See Attachment which further defines specific terms related to cultural diversity). Knowledge of cultural diversity is vital at all levels of nursing practice. Ethnocentric approaches to nursing practice are ineffective in meeting health and nursing needs of diverse cultural groups of clients. Knowledge about cultures and their impact on interactions with health care is essential for nurses, whether they are practicing in a clinical setting, education, research or administration. Cultural diversity addresses racial and ethnic differences, however, these concepts or features of the human experience are not synonymous. The changing demographics of the nation as reflected in the 1990 census will increase the cultural diversity of the U.S. population by the year 2000, and what have heretofore been called minority groups will, on the whole constitute a national majority (Census, 1990). Knowledge and skills related to cultural diversity can strengthen and broaden health care delivery systems. Other cultures can provide examples of a range of alternatives in services, delivery systems, conceptualization of illness, and treatment modalities. Cultural groups often utilize traditional health care providers, identified by and respected within the group. Concepts of illness, wellness, and treatment modalities evolve from a cultural perspective or world view. Concepts of illness, health, and wellness are part of the total cultural belief system. Culture is one of the organizing concepts upon which nursing is based and defined. Nurses need to understand:
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how cultural groups understand life processes; how cultural groups define health and illness; what cultural groups do to maintain wellness; what cultural groups believe to be the causes of illness; how healers cure and care for members of cultural groups; and how the cultural background of the nurse influences the way in which care is delivered.

It is important the nurse consider specific cultural factors impacting on individual clients and recognize that intra cultural variation means that each client must be assessed for individual cultural differences.

Value(s) refer to the especially favorable way of regarding the ideas. customs. sociology and psychology. cross cultural comparison can lead to recognition of possible universal aspects as well. moral and only way of life. and practices. Nurses in clinical practice must use their knowledge of cultural diversity to develop and implement culturally sensitive nursing care. important. in a culturally appropriate manner enables nurses to be more effective in initiating nursing assessments and serving as client advocates. useful. Recognizing cultural diversity. Culture is conceptualized broadly to encompass the belief systems of a variety of groups. norms. Nurses are in a position to influence professional policies and practice in response to cultural diversity. including their embodiment in artifacts. and the social sciences such as anthropology. and meanings evidenced in a way of life. This belief is common to all cultural groups. there are also many similarities among groups. Therefore. Definitions Cultural diversity in nursing practice derives its conceptual base from nursing. Access to care can be improved by providing culturally-relevant. the culture of the client and the culture of the setting. Issues such as cultural differences in defining health and in designing treatments are also important. their nature and source. Ethnocentrism is the belief that one's own culture is superior to all others. 1952). Nurse researchers need to utilize the cross-cultural body of knowledge in order to ask pertinent research questions. all groups regard their own culture as not only the best but also the correct. Ideology is comprised of the ideas of a group. All nursing curricula should include pertinent information about diverse health care beliefs. customs. behaviors. Cultural diversity refers to the differences between people based on a shared ideology and valued set of beliefs. opinions or ways of thinking of a group. values. It is this attitude which creates problems between nurses and clients of diverse cultural groups. The impact of culture as a causative influence on the perceptions. when possible. As knowledge of specific cultures is gained. and institutions of a group as desirable. Nurses take pride in their role as client advocates. These are attached to an agreed upon set of beliefs or a creed. integrating cultural knowledge. Such educational programs would demonstrate to nursing students that cultural beliefs and practices are as integral to the nursing process as are physical and psycho-social factors. nurse researchers and practitioners find that while cultures differ.Nurses bring their personal cultural heritage as well as the cultural and philosophical views of their education into the professional setting. the essential core of culture consists of historically derived and selected ideas and especially their attached values (Kroeber and Kluckhohn. it is important for the nurse to understand that nurse-patient encounters include the interaction of three cultural systems: the culture of the nurse. other crosscultural health disciplines. interpretations and behaviors of persons in specific cultural groups is important. constituting the distinctive achievement of human groups. and acting. or truthful. Individuals need choices of delivery systems in seeking health care. often unconscious and is imposed on every aspect of day-to-day interaction and practices including health care. Culture consists of patterns of behavior acquired and transmitted symbols. This belief is pervasive. Through exploration of other cultures. Nurse administrators need to foster policies and procedures that help ensure access to care that accommodates varying cultural beliefs. Nurse administrators need to be knowledgeable about and sensitive to the cultural diversity among providers and consumers. estimable. . and the doctrines. responsive services.

Kluckhohn. New York: Random House.." ANA House of Delegates. Kroeber. 1986. Census Bureau. 1990. "Cultural Diversity in Nursing. Kansas City.References y y American Nurses Association.. C. Code With Interpretive Statements. 1952. The 1990 Census. L. Culture: A critical review of concepts and definitions. American Nurses Association. Missouri: 1985. A. U. .S.