Congratulations to Ronald O. Hale R.N., CHN, recipient of the 2007 Wesley Watkins Scholarship Award
Cultural diversity reflects what our country is; a “Great Melting Pot.” With so many different cultures making up our country, the health care setting will reflect this as well. Whether it is the patients we care for or our fellow co-workers on the job, our country is a blending of many cultures and beliefs. How we respect and adapt to different cultures is a must in today’s world.
Cultural diversity can be as simple as the food one eats or as complicated as the language being spoken. This must be taken into account by the entire health care team as well as the health care providers. A culturally diverse staff can better deliver patient care and be more sensitive to cultural needs if they reflect the society make up in which they live. The patients will have a sense of acceptance and security from a staff which is culturally sensitive to their needs and the needs of their family as well as reflect the look of the community in which they live.
Attentiveness to cultural aspects of care with patients is an important part of holistic nursing care. With the diversity of cultures in our society, nurses must be able to address them competently and confidently. Familiarity with various cultures is a useful addition to careful assessments with our patients. In this way care planning can flow more easily from assessments that identify issues and needs regarding the patient’s culture and experiences.
Self-awareness regarding our own cultural beliefs and expressions is necessary in order to address these areas with patients and co-workers. Such awareness allows us to act from our own cultural perspectives, while taking care not to impose these views on others. With this knowledge and respect, quality patient care and education can be delivered by the entire health care team and promote harmony within the work place environment as well. This is why cultural diversity is important to me and is an integral part of the care I give my patients on a daily basis.