Heritage and Cultural Assessment
Gathering information about a patient’s culture is an essential part of the nursing assessment. The importance of a comprehensive cultural assessment cannot be underestimated. Race, ethnicity, and cultural values influence a patient’s view of health and potential treatments.
My first experiences with culture were relatively benign. I grew up in small-town Iowa where there was one African-American family and a smattering of families of Asian or Indian descent. The latter lived in town because their parent or parents were physicians at the local Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital. I lived in a vacuum with family living nearby, and all of my friends were ...view middle of the document...
My mother died of cancer at the age of 47, and I believe that this changed my father’s perspective on healthcare to the point of paranoia. At 83 years old, my father takes excellent care of his health and constantly reminds me to get annual check-ups and testing. Our family has no health traditions related to culture or ethnicity. I think that past experiences with poor health and death in the family have influenced our mindset regarding healthcare.
Filipino families place strong emphasis on the family unit. A Filipino focuses on the well-being and happiness of each family member. This caring not only pertains to the primary family unit but to all members in the family tree. The mother makes the majority of the decisions regarding the healthcare of the children. When one considers the term family in regards to a Filipino household, we must recognize that the term includes members on both sides of the maternal and fraternal structure. If a Filipino is hospitalized, it is common for many family members to be in attendance. This is supported by Schmit (2005,p.345) “a family visit to the hospital may take on the semblance of a family reunion.”
According to a Filipino friend, traditional Filipinos cope with their illness and pain through prayer, yet modern Filipinos utilize healthcare to provide restoration of health to their families. Many traditional Filiponos attempt self-treatment with medicinal herbs and plants before seeking the help of a physician. However, many of the Filipinos’ traditional healing salves - such as Tiger Balm – and juices (Noni Juice) are becoming mainstream in western society. Contemporary Filipinos who have assimilated into American society see healthcare through the eyes of their American counterparts. As with my Midwestern family, a modern Filipino family will teach their family to avoid exposure to disease by educating about hand-washing techniques, and will attempt to maintain health by eating healthy foods. Unfortunately eating-out is viewed as a status symbol and may be done on a regular basis. Most people in the Philippines cannot afford to eat at fast-food restaurants.
The Muslim culture may be one of the most misunderstood in the United States. The basis for every Muslim’s conduct is the value system taught in the Qur’an. The culture of Islam is a way of life that covers every aspect of living. Beliefs regarding healthcare are wrapped up in the religion of Islam, and not all Muslims share the same beliefs – it is dependent upon their country of origin. The unifying factor for all Muslims is their belief in ‘qadr’ or destiny. Muslims believe that a negative outcome - after they have done everything in their power to change the situation – is God’s will.
Muslims are at risk for Vitamin D deficiency because they do not drink milk or eat Vitamin D fortified foods. This is an area...