Six Tips to Increase Transcultural Nursing

As nurses, we deal with different cultures day in and day out. We build relationships and connections through the work that we do. The 21st-century nurse, in fact, bridges gaps and cares for different people around the world in a spectrum of settings. It is thus essential that we give importance, honor, and respect to all people regardless of race, color, or creed to be effective care providers.

At Transform Nursing, I believe that our nurse leaders need to enrich their abilities to attract, enhance and retain a nursing workforce that will deliver high-quality care as well as develop leadership potential for nurses at every level of management. The training I provide will revolve on unique experiences, knowledge, and skills that enhance your ability to fulfill your mission as a nurse, and gain for you rewards in the very work that you love to do. This method highlights the importance of inclusive and influential leadership.

In healthcare, it is crucial for leaders to share information, & break down silos

collaborate, and be willing to open your mind to try evidence-based novel ways of doing things. This also means dynamically working to build more resilience and trust with other members of the healthcare team.  Importantly for us nurses, this means respecting and encouraging diverse perspectives, establishing honest work climates, open dialogues of communication, and teamwork geared towards innovation and problem-solving.

Powerful discussions and even spirited arguments should not crowd out respect and support for the organization; but rather strengthen engagement, creativity and mutual respect for colleagues and other members of the healthcare team.  Through leadership tools that influence and transform, I will guide you in beginning a new chapter in your growth and development as a powerful and effective nurse in your own workplace. This should not stop there but continually spread to all areas of your professional and personal life.

Yes! The goal and responsibility for maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace is something that should be shared by all nurse leaders, if not the entire nursing workforce. Managers need to set the tone, but every nurse needs to fulfill his or her own role.

Direction in the Nursing Practice

With diversity, exclusion, and social justice issues continuously plaguing the system, nurses must make a stand universally. Health services must be available for all. To date, major issues for ill health include discrimination, violence, and social exclusion, as well as poverty (International Council of Nurses, 2014). As nurses who value diversity and inclusion, we should be involved and know health determinants that recognize individual characteristics in the populations we serve. This variety of characteristics are sourced from every background, gender, lifespan grouping, and many more multiple- level socio-environmental conditions.

It stands that predominantly, nurses practice within the confines of a biomedical model in the current healthcare system. Oftentimes, this demands nurses to deliver care through an illness model, which has been criticized as not adequately considering factors within the context of the lives of individual persons. It is crucial to realize that in diverse societies, however, understanding of health from each individual’s unique perspective and experience reflect multiple realities and interpretations. These are multifaceted aspects of the biomedical model and should be seen in terms of both its benefits and limitations in order to address concerns in the health of individuals, families, communities, and nations.

By learning from paradigms that encompass a broad range of factors that determine health, a method of broadening the scope for addressing health population diversity and a capacity to plan individualized care that is both responsive and inclusive to its very core, is feasible. This can be made possible because nurses, in general, have been shown to attend and address to issues of diversity and inclusion. For instance, nursing care of diverse patients in terms of culture and linguistics in the acute care setting has been shown to focus on communication, dietary and religious practices, with accommodation of health preferences and beliefs to a certain degree (Cioffi, 2010).

Transcultural Nursing is on the Rise

Transcultural nursing has equipped nurses to a certain degree to address cultural differences. Various evidence support that nurses provide active individualized care for rurally remote populations and marginalized communities. Moreover, nurses have proven that they can influence health-related outcomes with vulnerable families andhigh-risk groups, disadvantaged women, pregnant adolescents, among others  (Aveyard, 2007).

As advocates of health, we need to dynamically address the diverse experiences and issues individuals bring to the healthcare experience, and every possible time, positively influence health-related outcomes. How? Nursing interventions need to target specific groups and highlight how services are designed and delivered to reduce health-related inequities.

I strongly believe that the very relationships nurses have with patients, their families, as well as colleagues in the workforce should enable them to gather sufficient evidence to show the impact of policies and government provisions on the lives of communities that they serve.  This vital information can be utilized to raise awareness to government and the public in general of health inequities that exist and persist in society. It is the right time to advocate for change, starting even with socio-environmental factors the influence inequities (Reutter & Kushner, 2010).

The Role of Nursing Organizations

Nursing organizations should rightfully advocate and promote political engagement and effective policy development that could address socio-economic and cultural factors that affect the health of individuals, access to services, and the ability to thrive in health environments. Moreover, they should support solid educational preparation for nurses including training and research-work for nurses to be equipped with sufficient knowledge and skills to implement quality care to diverse health populations.

Tools and Training for Nurse Leaders

As nurse leaders, we should be able to recognize the determinants affecting health especially in vulnerable populations, as well as critically understand diverse factors that are responsible for health inequities.

Here at Transform Nursing, I would like to assist you in integrating political, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of care to enhance your perspective of diversity and health inequities.  Moreover, we can work together towards building personal tools for you geared towards acceptance of a critical, politicized stance that will empower you and your clients altogether.

No doubt, these skills will awaken in you a transformed leadership that will enable policy advocacies for a healthcare system that is more responsive and inclusive to diversity at its core.

Transforming Research to Practice

Evidence from studies need to test the effectiveness of interventions that address health inequities in various populations. We all know that in this day and age, research is crucial and valuable in guiding nurses in the health practice. Results of studies can even provide a venue for attracting funding of services that can impact health-related outcomes and inequities.

By focusing on diversity and health inequities, we play a pivotal role in identifying groups or persons at risk of poorer health.  Specifically, we need to apply diversity concepts (on health determinants) through:

  1.  establishing programs and services for vulnerable groups designed to reduce health inequalities.
  2.  engage in socio-political action to promote policy development that will generate results.
  3.  prepare our colleagues or subordinates to build capacity for addressing paramount issues in diversity and health inequities.
  4.  and finally, identify interventions through research evidence that will address the aforementioned issues in different populations.

The Diversity of Health Populations

The diversity of health populations can be appreciated through several frameworks, including health inequalities, inequities, and disparities. But an important focus should be an interpretation of diversity that encompasses each unique individual in the health population, and should genuinely respect their differences. Generally, these perspectives pose ethical and moral dilemmas and can even impede actions that improve health outcomes, resulting in higher costs.

Important Terms Defined

Generally, experts define health disparities as differences in health outcomes and their determinants among segments of the population, as defined by environmental, demographic, social attributes, etc.

Health inequalities, on the other hand, are associated with a group or individual’s specific attributes in the health population and their differences in responses to matters of health. In essence, these attributes include inherent factors influencing population diversity including race, ethnicity, gender, age, citizenship issues, etc.

Health inequities are a subset of health inequalities. Inequities are associated with social justice concerns and can be modified. Hence, health inequities are not simply health differences, but rather, unfair, unjust, and unnecessary differentials in health status among groups in society (Taylor, 2008). These run throughout an individual’s lifespan, from conception to death and intertwine in dimensions including politics, economics, social and cultural (World Health Organization, 2007).

Integrating Diversity and Inclusion

It is important to realize that integrating diversity and inclusion in nursing will promote the evaluation and dynamic review of policies and practices in our very organizations that support a healthy environment in healthcare for patients, vulnerable groups, members of the healthcare team, and our very own development in the practice. It is a culture where we can thrive and be safe at a personal and organizational level.

Personally, I believe that a culture of inclusive excellence in nursing and healthcare will voice out for many in society, especially vulnerable groups in terms of ethnicity, race, gender identity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, religious and political beliefs, age, and many other ideologies.

Taking on this role will empower us, the people we work with, and the people we work for, so that collaboratively, policies and practices may be improved to benefit everyone affected by the healthcare system. Because let’s face it, the current lack of management in diversity and inclusion in nursing impedes our ability to achieve excellent care for everyone.

A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

The first step is for nurses to commit to enhancing our diverse environments. This may take an assessment of years of experiences that excluded some and favored others; as well as careful examination and immense effort. If we don’t do this, social injustices will continue to multiply.

Let us collectively take the first step by making the implicit, out loud and explicit. Inequities need to be exposed as they exist in our systems. We must commit to exposing subtle comments, gestures, or even looks that may create misunderstanding or bias. After all, evidence has shown that quality and safety in healthcare are intertwined with diversity and inclusion. Lack of a proper perspective and action geared towards improving concerns of exclusion and injustices will continue to promote health disparities, that preclude quality of life and care for all.

In the process of change, it is imperative to sustain and refine cultural humility. We must understand that it may not be fully possible to be culturally adept with every culture; but that we should focus on the people and cultures with which we primarily work for and with. We should open ourselves to continuously learning backgrounds, space and territorial needs, styles of communication, timing, social concerns, and even food and biological differences (Giger, 2016).

As advocates, we should persistently voice out support and call for the development of a culture of diversity and inclusion to achieve meaningful and effective care for everyone.  Where gaps continue to exist, nurses, being the largest healthcare workforce with over three million nurses in the US alone is well-positioned to champion efforts in diversity and inclusion. But before we can accomplish this noble goal, let us work together to transform nursing with a well-vetted plan.

Join me for a dialogue on this topic, so that together we can promote a culture of diversity and inclusive excellence.  Something to think about: In the US alone, numerous people are thoughtless about the devastating effects of anti-diversity movements or rhetorics. To combat anti-diversity and exclusivity, small acts done proactively go a long way. We should begin with changing the thinking process to convert exclusion to inclusion.

Only when we become attentive to appropriate behaviors and understand the detrimental effects of all actions that we do on other human beings, can we allow change to transform us and our society.

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