Discussion 3 – Cultural Diversity in Health and Illness
The concepts of health and illness are not easily defined and are difficult to understand. The World Health organization (WHO) defines health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.’ Other definitions include the state of being free from illness or injury, or a general condition of the body or mind in equilibrium. The many definitions of health make it difficult to grasp and understand it’s meaning. The definitions of illness are just as elusive. Is it the absence or opposite of health or is it better defined as a disease or condition? No matter the definition we need to understand that the experience of being ill is also defined by the patient. What health may mean to a 21 year old athlete versus a 60 year old diabetic will vary greatly. Therefore we find individuals defining health and illness according to their own definitions. We also must realize that culture greatly affects one’s definition of health and illness, therefore as advanced practice nurses in order to provide competent care we must understand health and illness from our client’s perspective.
Based on the various definitions of health, define health and explain if you agree with one definition more than the other? Why?
Andrews, M., Boyle, J., & Collins, J.W. (2020). Transcultural concepts in nursing care (8th
ed.). Wolters Kluwer.
Andrews & Boyle, J. , Chapters 2, 3
The Process of Cultural Competence in the Delivery of Healthcare Services by Campinha-Bacote (2002)
Cultural Competence for Healthcare Providers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNLtAj0wy6I&feature=related
The Model of Cultural Competence through Evolutionary Concept Analysis by Suh (2004). http://journals.sagepub.com.ezproxy.wilkes.edu/doi/pdf/10.1177/1043659603262488
Communication Between Cultures: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlMf_RGlaQU
The Definition of Health
Different healthcare entities have developed varying interpretations of the concept of health. For instance, the World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (Andrews et al., 2020). This 1948 definition included, for the first time, the social parameter. The physical and mental aspects are easy to grasp since they consist of being in sound condition to execute the functions of an average person. However, social well-being meant that even if one was in an ideal physical and mental state, they might not be healthy if their social environment does not support their status. For instance, if there are inadequate health resources in a particular community, the members cannot be considered healthy since they would not receive sufficient and timely care if they fell ill.
Other people adopt a simpler definition, where health is the general physical and mental condition. This definition concurs with what is available in grammar-based sources and is based on a traditional understanding of health (Svalastog et al., 2017). Thus, according to this interpretation, one person can be healthier than another despite both not exhibiting any illness or health challenge. This definition is helpful when evaluating population health contributors, such as an individual’s weight, cholesterol levels, and cardiovascular function.
I relate more to the WHO definition since it offers a more holistic interpretation of health. However, both definitions fail to consider the emerging trend of chronic illnesses. Many people with chronic diseases manage their symptoms, allowing them to perform at par as those without them (Fallon & Karlawish, 2019). Thus, while I concur with the WHO definition, the organization should incorporate chronic disease management for the definition to remain practical to the 21st-century healthcare scene.
Andrews, M. M., Boyle, J., & Collins, J. W. (2020). Transcultural concepts in nursing care (8th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.
Svalastog, A. L., Donev, D., Jahren Kristoffersen, N., & Gajović, S. (2017). Concepts and definitions of health and health-related values in the knowledge landscapes of the digital society. Croatian Medical Journal, 58(6), 431–435. https://doi.org/10.3325/cmj.2017.58.431
Fallon, C. K., & Karlawish, J. (2019, Jul. 17). It’s Time to Change the Definition of Health. https://www.statnews.com/2019/07/17/change-definition-health/