The Importance of the Utilization of Transcultural Nursing Theory to the Future of Nurse Practitioners
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The purpose and goal of the transcultural nursing theory is to provide culturally congruent, safe, and meaningful care to clients of diverse or similar cultures. (Leininger, 2002, p. 190) Leininger has established a theory that studies cultures to understand their differences and similarities. Cultural competence is important within the nursing profession due to differences in each individual’s perception of illness and wellness. The Culture Care Theory establishes an alliance between culture and health care. The alliance is crucial in the establishment of higher level of health awareness and increased well-being for each individual or community. An individual’s health beliefs and practices are directly linked to his/her culture. In determining interventions and appropriate care for an individual or community, the Cultural Care theory, targets cultural beliefs and practices. The theory continues with the belief that nurses need to consider that not all cultures are similar, and there are variations within each culture. The theory consistently focuses on how the individual or community should be treated differently and separately, and personal uniqueness should always be considered. This belief stems from Leininger’s personal belief in “God’s creative and caring ways.” (Leininger, 2002, p. 190)
Not only on research and organizations Cultural Care theory has been spread, the education of nurses around the world has also been impacted with Leninger’s framework (George, 2002). Dr. Leninger is considered an international scholar and worldwide founder and pioneering of the field of transcultural nursing. Leninger has spread her word in over 220 articles and 28 books around the world. Among her most important works we can include; the significance of culture in nursing (1967), Nursing and anthropology: two worlds to blend (1970), and Transcultural nursing concepts, theories, research and practice (1978) (Akram, 2001). Research on cultural diverse care has been detail in studies from many other researchers including; American Gypsies (Bodnar & Leininger, 1992, 1995); Anglo and African American elders in long-term care (McFarland, 1997); Culture and Pain (Villarruel, 1995); the Gadsup of New Guinea (Leninger, 1991, 1995); Muscogee Creek Indians (Wing & Thompson, 1996); Old Order Amish (Wenger, 1991, 1995); etc (George, 2002). Some organizations found today that share Leninger’s values and beliefs are; Cultural Diversity a non-profit organization dedicated to increase cultural awareness among nurses and propose solutions when problems of bias conflict arise. The organization is run by Victor Fernandez RN BSN and Kathy Fernandez RN BSN. The organization is aim to promote workshops, guest speaker appearances focused to teach student nurses increase awareness of cultural diversity they also offer a web-based center that promotes interactive teaching and learning content about transcultural nursing (Fernandez, V. & Fernandez, K. 2008).
There is widening disparity in health care quality and access among minority populations (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality [AHRQ], 2008) especially among African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and American Indians (Sullivan Commission, 2004). Healthy People 2020 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [USDHHS], 2011) has as one of its goals the elimination of these disparities. While accounting for 33% in 2000, racial or ethnic minority groups will comprise almost half of the U.S. population by the middle of this century (AHRQ, 2008; U.S. Census Bureau, 2008). Recognizing that barriers exist for diverse populations, the USDHHS Offi ce of Minority Health developed national standards for culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) (OMH, 2001; USDHHS, 2001). Sagar_07480_PTR_Ch 01_22-07-11_1-20.indd 9 agar_07480_PTR_Ch 01_22-07-11_1-20.indd 9 7/22/2011 9:17:59 PM /22/2011 9:17:59 PM Along with CLAS and other guidelines, the Leininger’s CCDU offers a structured approach to promoting culturally congruent care. Leininger (1995b, 2002b, 2006b) warned about cultural imposition, the tendency of health care workers to impose their own belief system and values to other people or groups because of notions of superiority. This imposition may happen while providing care here in the United States or when working with developing countries in partnerships and collaborations. People have deeply ingrained cultural values and beliefs; the success of educational outreach or technological support may depend on the “applicability or fi t” (Sagar, 2000) in a particular country. Leininger’s CCDU (1995a, 2002a, 2006a) and sunrise model’s depiction of nurses bridging generic folk practices and professional nursing is truly telling of the immense role of nurses. Furthermore, nurses are with patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, creating that potential for rendering culturally congruent care that enhances health care outcomes. For this reason, it is of utmost importance to promote cultural competence among all nurses (Bomar & Glenn, 2004).
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (February, 2008).
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2007 National healthcare disparities report. Rockville, MD: Author. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (1998).
The essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice. Washington, DC: Author. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (1999).
Nursing education’s agenda for the 21st century. Washington, DC: Author American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2008).
Cultural competency in baccalaureate nursing education. Washington, DC: Author