Increasing Sensitivity to Culture in the Medical Practice

671 Words3 Pages
One of the most important shifts that has occurred in the last generation of medical practice is that there has been an increasing emphasis on the importance of increasing sensitivity. This has been true on the part of every member of a medical team: They are now aware of the importance of understanding the culture of every patient, including the ways in which their cultural beliefs and practices incorporate their spiritual or religious beliefs or practices. Nurses are tasked and are very much up to the task as one of the most important medical professionals to ensure that these vital aspects of patient care are attended to (DeSantis, 1991). Acknowledging and incorporating cultural values into medical care is not simply a nicety, or even a way of showing respect for the patient although certainly this latter would be important enough on its own. Including an awareness of how culture affects health is one of the defining forces that determine how healthy an individual is. For example, cultural cues encourage or discourage individuals to smoke, to drink, to be abstemious or not. Without understanding the basic framework that each patient's culture creates for her or him, a medical professional will be unable to provide the most focused and therefore the most effective and efficient care. In some ways, being aware of the cultural context of a patient's life is a part of creating an accurate diagnosis. A key part of providing the most accurate and therefore the most
Open Document