Trans-cultural nursing addresses how nurses interact with patients on
a cultural level. There are many patients whose culture and background
are an important part of who they are as individuals. When they face
injuries or illnesses, their cultures play a part in how they deal
with the emotional struggle, and may even impact how they choose to
be treated by a health care team. A patient who is a Jehovah's Witness,
for example, will not allow him or herself to receive a blood transfusion.
A patient who is an Irish traveler may prefer a more holistic or
homeopathic approach to treatment.
Nurses help a wide variety of patients when practicing in the health
care field. Patients are likely to come from diverse backgrounds and cultures,
and in order to best care for patients, a nurse must be prepared to adapt
to his or her patients' cultural needs.
The best way for a nurse to work well with trans-cultural patients is for him or her
to be open and attentive to the patients' needs. He or she can ask patients if they
have any needs specific to their cultures or backgrounds. By knowing what cultural
needs or desires a patient has, a nurse can accommodate those needs and work them
into his or her nursing care plan, when possible. If any needs cannot be met, a nurse
can speak with the patient about what else can be done to make the patient feel more
Working with patients to be supportive of trans-cultural nursing is a way for a nurse
to connect with his or her patient. It helps a nurse to get to know a patient on a
more personal level, and helps him or her make sure the patient gets the best care
possible. After all, a nurse is treating a whole person and not just an illness or
injury, and the person's culture and background is included in that.
Nurses may also benefit from taking anthropology courses when possible. These courses
will open nurses up to other cultures and give them information about culture practices
and beliefs that could be helpful during day-to-day nursing practice. The more a nurse
knows about other cultures, the better prepared he or she will be to help a wide range
While nursing is predominantly a health care field, there is an element of customer
service to it, as well. Nurses must interact with patients and their families, and
having a stronger understanding of trans-cultural nursing and how to use it on a
daily basis will help nurses with the "people skills" and "bedside manner" they need
to help patients work toward health.