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Madeleine M. Leininger: Culture Care Theory of Diversity and Universality

The Type of Pre-Requisite Knowledge, Experiences, Attitudes And Skills Needed To Effectively Use The Culture Care Theory of Diversity And Universality

Dr. JULIUS C. DAO, MaEd, MPHC, RN Professor

The type of pre-requisite knowledge, experiences, attitudes and skills needed to effectively use The culture care theory of diversity and universality.
THE CULTURE CARE THEORY OF DIVERSITY AND UNIVERSALITY (a.k.a. Transcultural Nursing) is a theory and practice, focused specifically on comparing the care needs of people with differences and similarities in beliefs, values, and cultures in order to provide culturally congruent, meaningful, and beneficial health care. In understanding this definition it is important to note that transcultural nursing is an essential area of study for nurses as it enables the nurse to acquire the knowledge, experiences, attitudes and skills necessary to function in a society which includes groups of people from designated cultures. The knowledge, experiences, attitudes and skills gained through such study will ensure that nurses meet the specific needs of people from different ethnic origins thus ensuring that their care is therapeutic and meaningful. Clients from different backgrounds will quickly become distrustful, discontented and unhappy with their care if nurses show little knowledge or skill in meeting their particular health care needs. In order to begin to acquire the knowledge, experiences, attitudes and skills needed, it is a pre-requisite for nurses: to gain an understanding of the particular cultures that form part of the society or population they are caring for, including the beliefs, the values, lifestyles and religious practices engaged in. Nurses who are skilled in transcultural nursing believe it is the human right of every culture to have their beliefs, values and practices understood and respected by those providing care.

This means that this particular area of study is as important to nurses as studying anatomy and physiology, biology, ethics and nursing practice. Indeed many of these areas are experienced in different ways by people of different cultures.

For example the dietary habits of a particular cultural group will affect the nursing practice of assisting a patient to eat and drink. Similarly, the native language of a particular group of people will affect the way in which the nurse communicates with the patient on a range of health care issues.

The goal of transcultural nursing is to prepare nurses who are culturally competent, knowledgeable, sensitive and safe to practice in a multicultural environment. Achievement of this goal must begin with the development of an awareness of ones own ethnic identity as this enables long standing biases, misunderstandings and prejudices to be expelled, which may otherwise make it difficult for nurses to become culturally competent. Leininger developed her theory of culture care diversity and universality, which is based on the belief that people of different cultures can inform and are capable of guiding professionals to receive the kind of care they desire or need from others. Culture is the patterned and valued life ways of people that influence their decisions and actions; therefore, the theory is directed toward nurses to discover and document the world of the client and to use their emic viewpoints, knowledge, and practices with appropriate etic (professional knowledge), as bases for making culturally congruent professional care actions and decisions). Indeed, culture care is the broadest holistic nursing theory, because it takes into account the totality and holistic perspective of human life and existence over time, including the social structure factors, worldview, cultural history and values, environmental context, language expressions, and folk (generic) and professional patterns. These are some of the critical and essential bases for the discovery of grounded care knowledge that as the essence of nursing that can lead to the health and well-being of clients and can guide therapeutic nursing practice. The culture care theory can be inductive and deductive, derived from emic (insider) and etic (outsider) knowledge. However, Leininger encourages obtaining grounded emic knowledge from the people or culture because such knowledge is most credible.