Social and Cultural Influences Paper
The focus of this paper is on the social and cultural influences in your life. The student will submit a paper which describes the social and cultural influences having shaped his/her lifestyle and career choices. Implications of those influences for the student’s role as an advanced practice nurse should be identified. This paper should be appropriately cited and APA format is required. This paper should be no longer than 6 typed pages (excluding title page and reference page). Students should use the Grading Rubric for Graduate Written Assignments which is located in the content section of the course as a guide.
Social and Cultural Influences in Life and Nursing Profession
Social and cultural elements shape an individual’s perspectives on various things, thereby influencing their lifestyle and professional choices. For instance, the primary influence in my life and career has been my mother. She worked as a nurse for almost thirty years, and as a child, I was keen to follow in her footsteps. However, I soon realized that becoming a nurse was not easy. I needed to maintain my academic performance and embrace the emotional context that engulfs most healthcare settings. My mother was supportive all along, telling me and my siblings (brother and sister) of the noble work that healthcare providers do. When I particularly brought up the concern of how she stands the pain and agony, she stated that she was happy to deal with it so that others may not. She also said that there was no greater feeling for a nurse than knowing that they did all they could for a patient to achieve the best possible outcomes. Of course, one was always sad when the care process did not go as expected, resulting in excessive pain, discomfort, or death.
Therefore, my mother’s earliest lessons to me and my siblings, who also joined the profession, were more than just about nursing. She prepared us to become the best versions of ourselves, serve others, and manage the challenges that come along the way. Thus, she was a central figure of influence in our social and cultural understanding of the world and the nursing profession. By the time I enrolled in nursing school, I had a better picture than most of my colleagues of what I wanted to do as a nurse.
Peer and Mentor Influences
While studying to become a baccalaureate nurse, I learned of advanced nursing practice. Nursing practitioners (NPs) were still not common in most healthcare settings. The information from nursing organizations (such as the American Nurses Association) was that NPs were ideally fully autonomous caregivers who could bridge the gap between traditional medical practice and the nursing discipline. I asked my mother about it, and she told me that since the practice was rare during her time, she could not have adequate information. Therefore, I consulted one of my tutors at school. I enquired about the relevance of nursing practice in modern society. My tutor guided me in understanding more about advanced nursing practice. For instance, I discovered that each state had the mandate to determine the scope of practice. Some states had already granted their NPs full authority, while others, like Florida (where I reside), had a limited scope (Neff et al., 2018). The tutor was optimistic that even Florida would eventually allow NPs to practice without a senior physician’s oversight or consent.
I presented the issue to three of my friends to get their perspectives. They had all heard about advanced nursing practice but were not too keen to pursue it. First, they stated that becoming an NP required one to have a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, which they did not think they could afford. Also, they did not believe that the NP role could comprehensively address patient needs any more than a nurse-physician combination. However, after a lot of research and deliberation over several weeks, we all agreed that advanced nursing practice was beneficial. We decided that we would identify an area of interest within five years of completing nursing school and pursue an MSN degree that aligns with it.
Workplace, Legal, and Broader Society Influences
I had also been keen on working in the emergency department. Hence, I spent the first five years of my nursing practice working as an emergency care nurse. During this time, I gained a lot of invaluable experience in clinical interventions as well as making critical decisions while under pressure. I was so dedicated to my work that I soon became the charge nurse. My new position allowed me to evaluate the quality of care that the unit was providing. I noticed that while the team was performing above expectations in restoring physical health, there was a huge gap in addressing mental and emotional wellness. I visited other departments within the facility, such as acute care and perioperative departments, and the observation was similar. Hence, I began informally researching nurses’ role in promoting mental health. I discovered that our facility was performing poorly in this area and that there was no quick fix to the solution. Therefore, I dedicated my efforts to becoming a nursing leader who could influence such major changes in a healthcare facility and the nursing profession.
Throughout my tenure in the emergency care department, the caregivers had heavily relied on the Florida Mental Health Act of 1971 (commonly known as the Baker Act). The act provides family members with authority to seek emergency mental health services for their relatives with a mental illness (Maniaci et al., 2019). The interventions include drug administration, behavioral therapy, and even detention. However, I observed that the act contradicts some modern nursing policies and practices. For instance, it circumvents the concept of patient-centeredness. Patient-centered care considers the patient’s needs first. Thus, if their interests do not align with the family’s or community’s, the healthcare provider should prioritize the patients’ needs. The approach has led to significant improvements in care quality, patient satisfaction, and clinical outcomes (Kwame & Petrucka, 2021). Thus, it is wrong that such a progressive nursing practice becomes irrelevant when dealing with mental health.
Baker Act also contravenes the ethical concept of beneficence and non-maleficence. Nursing evidence shows that mental health patients receiving care under the Baker Act are more likely to lose self-control and attempt self-harming actions (Maniaci et al., 2019). Nurses are ethically obligated to ensure that they do not expose their patients to unnecessary harm. So, implementing the Baker Act contravenes non-maleficence. It also contradicts beneficence since it prevents caregivers from implementing the most potentially beneficial interventions.
I continued observing the healthcare and social perceptions of mental health during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. There was a drastic increase in psychiatric wellness needs, and most healthcare providers were ill-equipped to deliver optimal outcomes. The perception was also prevalent in the broader society, with many people ignorant of even the most common mental illnesses, such as depression. I observed family members dismissing their relative’s condition and branding their behavior as general psychotic episodes. Therefore, I realized that enhancing mental health awareness among nurses and community members was necessary to promote better health outcomes.
Therefore, my aggregate experiences in the emergency care department and the COVID-19 pandemic influenced me to pursue psychiatric nursing at the Master’s level. I completed my studies and am now a full-fledged psychiatric nurse practitioner hospitalist. I prefer the hospital setting over other practice areas since it allows me to reach a wider number and variety of patients and care providers. Thus, I can employ my skills, knowledge, and experience to promote mental health for a culturally and clinically diverse population.
Implications of Influences on Nursing Student Role
Practicing nurses often become students at various points in their careers. Whether it is continuing education or a competency-enhancement program, nurses assume the student role, allowing them to reflect on their career, evaluate it, and possibly alter its trajectory. My socio-cultural influences have impacted how I have played my role as a nursing student. For example, my mother was instrumental in developing my initial interest in the profession. My key motivation was making her proud by following in her footsteps. Hence, I focused on academic excellence. I was determined to be the best nursing student in my class in theory and practice. I forged strong relationships with my tutors and colleagues to accomplish this goal. This dedication to excellence and cooperation would later become fundamental to my practice. I would often engage my seniors and peers in discussing departmental problems and developing solutions. Thus, my mother’s influence in pursuing nursing pushed me to become a diligent student and nurse.
My interaction with peers and initial experience in the emergency care department also impacted my perception of nursing research and evidence-based practice. I had encountered these concepts during my Baccalaureate studies, but I had not yet used them. Therefore, observing the deplorable mental health standards at the entire facility piqued my interest in whether other hospitals and professionals had such experiences. To my surprise, I discovered that research and evidence-based practice are central to all modern healthcare practices. I pursued further education to improve my knowledge and skills to match the national and international standards. Thus, the key driving force during my Master’s program was change. I wanted to alter the practice of mental health at my facility. Consequently, I developed a practical approach to my studies, reviewing how various concepts and entities would fit into different cultural and clinical settings.
My mother, peers and tutors at the Baccalaureate level, and my experiences working as an emergency care nurse have the major social and cultural influences on my life and profession. The three influences have motivated me to pursue nursing excellence. They also impacted my nursing student role by creating a drive towards becoming the best in the field and being a change leader. Therefore, without these influences, I would not have pursued nursing, and even if I did, I would not nearly be as dedicated and motivated as I presently am.
Kwame, A., & Petrucka, P. M. (2021). A Literature-Based Study of Patient-Centered Care and Communication in Nurse-Patient Interactions: Barriers, Facilitators, and the Way Forward. BMC Nursing, 20(1), 158. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12912-021-00684-2
Maniaci, M. J., Burton, M. C., Lachner, C., Vadeboncoeur, T. F., Dawson, N. L., Roy, A., Dumitrascu, A. G., Lewis, P. C., & Rummans, T. A. (2019). Patients Threatening Harm to Others Evaluated in the Emergency Department under the Florida Involuntary Hold Act (Baker Act). Southern Medical Journal, 112(9), 463–468. https://doi.org/10.14423/SMJ.0000000000001019
Neff, D. F., Yoon, S. H., Steiner, R. L., Bejleri, I., Bumbach, M. D., Everhart, D., & Harman, J. S. (2018). The Impact of Nurse Practitioner Regulations on Population Access to Care. Nursing Outlook, 66(4), 379-385. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.outlook.2018.03.001