Cultural care in nursing involves incorporating skills, knowledge, and attitudes in caring for people across different languages, values, and beliefs. The number of black Americans has significantly increased in the past decades; therefore, I would focus on this population. In 2015, United States Census Bureau estimated African Americans to be 46.3 million, equivalent to 12.1% of the entire population (Collins et al., 2018). Additionally, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported mortality rates reduction among African American individuals of 65 years and above (Collins et al., 2018). Therefore, nurses should ensure that cultural care is competent to minimize health disparities that affect this population.
Individuals from low socioeconomic status are commonly affected by health inequalities. Black Americans have the highest mortality rate of stroke and heart illnesses than other minorities in the United States (Sharifi et al., 2019). For example, cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes significantly burden African Americans. As a nurse, I should understand the important cultural and religious beliefs in the culture of black Americans. This can be achieved by integrating three factors: disease prevalence and incidence, ideas related to individuals’ health, and the efficiency of treatment (Collins et al., 2018). For example, individuals lack confidence in the healthcare system and providers and seek medical assistance when diseases become severe. Additionally, some people might use home remedies to treat or contain particular health conditions, such as taking opioids to relieve pain. Sharifi et al. (2019) explain that older adults can seek medical help from family members and friends, or spiritual healers. Moreover, African Americans are likely to avoid invasive procedures or refuse bypass surgeries because of cultural and religious beliefs. This is because they fear that the disease might worsen and cause death.
As a nurse, I would encourage African Americans to visit healthcare facilities for tests because their participation statistics are relatively low. Collins et al. (2018) explain that many African Americans suffer from hypertension, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS, which have decreased their life expectancy. Additionally, high blood pressure among black Americans is more resistant to treatment and severe than other ethnic groups. Nurses should explain that if patients fail to engage in tests, they reduce the ability to translate analysis into evidence-based because researchers cannot examine new safe and effective care methods (Sharifi et al., 2019). The involvement of patients in their care reduces anxiety, enhances knowledge, and motivates them to ask healthcare questions. Additionally, nurses should be culturally competent to give quality care when patients have limitations. Sharifi et al. (2019) explain that there is a strong correlation between inequality and adverse health outcomes; therefore, nurses should combine social justice with cultural care. Nurses do not need to accept patients’ beliefs, but they should treat every individual with love and respect (Collins et al., 2018). Their personal views should not interfere with their work because it can cause misdiagnosis or over-medication.
In conclusion, healthcare disparities have increased the burden of diseases on African Americans. Healthcare providers should ensure that they give competent cultural care to these individuals through incorporating cultural knowledge, skills, awareness, encounters, and desire. These factors reduce patient bias or harmful behavior and encourage their participation during treatment. The communication between nurses and patients helps to develop trust resulting in positive healthcare outcomes. Cultural competency and awareness help nurses handle patients uniquely; therefore, they feel valued and appreciated.
Collins, J. W., Zoucha, R., Lockhart, J. S., & Mixer, S. J. (2018). Cultural aspects of end-of-life care planning for African Americans: An integrative review of the literature. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 29(6), 578-590.
Sharifi, N., Adib-Hajbaghery, M., & Najafi, M. (2019). Cultural competence in nursing: A concept analysis. International journal of nursing studies, 99, 103386.