Discussion post 2: 200 words. Cultural awareness and competence are an important part of nursing.
Understanding different cultures and being respectful of all people regardless of their culture is what makes a nurse great. I became a nurse to be able to help people and I realize that everyone is different, there are many different cultures, even here in Buffalo, NY, and that it is my responsibility to treat everyone equally and respect their wishes and beliefs. Some cultures do not believe in conventional medicine and we as healthcare professionals must understand and respect that. As we know, every patient has the right to refuse, and we must understand that as well as the importance of educating our patients on all treatments that are offered to them so they can make informed decisions. Understanding and respecting the views and beliefs of other cultures will build trust between the nurse and patient and assist in better patient outcomes and satisfaction. There are sometimes cultural barriers such as difference in language that can affect how the healthcare team and treatments are perceived. Other resources such as interpreters, social worker and even family members can aid in creating a trusting, understanding relationship between the patient and healthcare professional. Being able to reach out to these resources to help our patients is the responsibility of the nurse.
During my nursing practice, I was assigned to a patient that was a practicing Jehovah’s Witness. The beliefs regarding healthcare are quite different between people of this religion and my personal beliefs. The patient was suffering from a GI bleed related to her cancer and her hemoglobin was dropping rapidly. The patient would not accept blood product transfusions based on her religious beliefs even though medically they were necessary. The doctor as well as the nursing staff explained to the patient the importance of a blood transfusion, why it would help her and the risks if she did not receive transfusions. The patient understood but still refused. The doctor as well as the nurses respected her decision and treated her with every other option that was available to her, and she agreed to. In this situation it is hard for us as healthcare workers to understand why someone would refuse a therapy that would save their lives. We have to remember that we are there to treat the patient as a whole, physically, mentally and even spiritually. Therefore, we must respect the patient’s decisions and still support them as best we can.