Haitian Culture: Impact on Nursing Care Essay

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Haitian Culture: Impact on Nursing Care

The Republic of Haiti is in the western part of the island of Hispaniola in the West Indies. It is densely populated and has the lowest per capita income in the western hemisphere (Kemp, 2001). The population of more than seven million is made up of mostly descendents of African slaves brought to the West Indies by French colonists. The horrible conditions in Haiti, such as crushing poverty, unemployment and illiteracy, and high rates of acute and chronic illnesses and child and infant mortality, result in the illegal immigration of many Haitians to the United States, France, and other countries in Western Europe. Most immigrants are adults and teens who leave Haiti
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When amongst friends, however, they are very expressive and animated, use direct eye contact, and frequently use touch to communicate. Most interactions are very close due to smaller personal space requirements. For these reasons, touch by trusted caregivers is often appreciated.
Religion is very important in the life of a Haitian, especially during illness, death, or other crises. The majority of Haitians (80%) are Catholic, but many of these also believe in Voodou (Kemp, 2001). Similar to Catholicism, Voodou revolves around belief in one central God, called Bon Dieu or Bondye. Religion is often seen as a magical process, and Voodou beliefs include the existence of a spirit world made up of saints, mysteres, or loas. These spirits are mostly the sould of family members and are incorporated into the lives of Haitians. If neglected, malicious ancestors, and the living dead or zombies may appear to the living to bring about illness, death, or other misfortune. Rituals are practices to ensure the relationships with these spirits are protective, or at least not damaging. Loas are thought to be controlled through the magic of Voodou practitioners such as Diviners or Fortune Readers, Shaman, including Rriestess (mambo), and Priest (houngan), Leaf Doctors or herbalists (docte fe), Bonesetters (docte zo), Midwives (matron or fam saj), and Injectionists (pikirist). Practitioners
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