Essay on Nurses Must be Aware of Religious and Cultural Differences

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Nursing requires a tremendous amount of care both physically and psychosocially. Besides having a well-rounded medical knowledge, it is important for nurses to be aware of religious and cultural practices that are utilized in the world today. There is a multiplicity of different religious backgrounds and gaining knowledge on their differences and important traditions will allow nurses to provide competent care. In the Jewish faith, death is seen as a natural process, one with many unique traditions that give friends and family the opportunity to spend time with the deceased. When death occurs, and Jewish rituals begin, the body is never left alone, as mourners will focus on showing respect for the dead and consolation for the living. …show more content…

The Shiva ritual will last seven days for the mourners, during which time they are without shoes, and will sit on low stools, or the floor. They will not shave, go to work, bathe, have sex, eat meat, and will remain in the original clothes they tore in the first phase at the time of death. At the end of these seven days, the mourners begin a 30 day period, known as shloshim, in which they will not attend social gatherings. If they are mourning a parent’s death, traditionally, shloshim is extended and will last the length of one year (Rich, 1996). In contrast to the Jewish faith, where tradition and rituals focus on ceremonies that are held with the body kept as is, the Hindu religion actually favors cremation in death. After death, Hindus see cremation as the accepted way to sacrifice the deceased to God. Cremation is the favorable way to dispose of the body, as Hindus believe that the body has no purpose after death. Hindu funerals are extremely important ceremonies that will last for days after death. Typically, there is a lead mourner, who is generally the eldest son of the deceased who “plays a crucial role in performing all the funeral rites (Gupta, 2011).” As the rituals begin, the body will be placed on a bier, which is carried to the placed of cremation. Upon arrival, the “disposal ceremony” begins which is led by a priest and the body is removed from the bier by placing it in a river.

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