Madeleine Leininger, founder of the transcultural nursing movement, identified eight specific reasons why transculturalism is imperative to the practice of nursing. As presented in Boyle & Andrews (2015), Leininger explained that there is an increasing tendency for globalization, or the movement of people across international boundaries, which calls for an understanding by nurses of cultural and social differences and similarities. She also believed that patients expect those social and cultural identities and habits be familiar to their caregivers and that if this need isn’t met, it can create conflict between the patient and the caregiver. Additionally, Leininger theorized that this conflict could increase as more cultures were added to the patient-caregiver mix, and that with increasing mobility to cross social, cultural, and finite national borders, there is a greater need for diversification in nursing practice. Leininger predicted increased legal difficulties stemming from a lack of transcultural training for health care providers as well, Finally, she postulated that gender and age-specific issues need to be a part of the discussion nd practice of nurses and other health care workers and that there is a growing demand for culturally-based nursing care. Leininger (2002, p. 189) further described the whole of these eight pieces of transcultural nursing care as a new approach that needed to be utilized in order to “assure culturally competent, safe, and congruent transcultural nursing care.”

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The meaning of cultural diversity in its broadest sense is the recognition that every person belongs to specific individually chosen as well as socially constructed groups. Further, tolerance and acceptance of groups that differ from one’s own is essential in nursing care for many reasons. Building trust with patients is essential in achieving the successful outcome of an injury or illness. In fact, health care workers have a moral obligation to do so, as trust between a patient and a healthcare worker “may result in greater patient autonomy and shared decision making” (Allinson, n.p.). Without trust, patient outcomes suffer and there is less job satisfaction on the part of nurses.

One way in which I will be able to provide culturally sensitive care to my patients will be to address patients in a manner that is respectful. Some cultures and age groups are not comfortable with the casual first-name use that most nurses utilize with their patients. Starting off a new shift or at a first encounter with a patient by offending them with an improper use of his or her name will not set a good tone for the rest of that patient’s care. Making sure I am aware of what cultures prefer a more formal approach will be beneficial in my nursing practice. Another way, suggested by RN Patricia Josipovic (2000) is to ensure that I receive adequate education in cultural sensitivity as well as specific cultural practices in nursing care for the major cultural and social populations I will serve. Making sure that I am armed with as much cultural knowledge as possible will go a long way in helping me build trust with my patients. Even if they see that I am not completely familiar with their usual medical customs, if they can at least see that I am open to learning and am trying hard to accommodate them, this will help with relationship building. A third way I can achieve culturally sensitive care is to understand the cultural dynamics of families. Some cultures are very private about their individual health care, and some cultures desire a large, ever-present support group at times of health crises. Knowing how to communicate with the families and friends and other supporters of social and cultural groups who desire many hospital visits with multiple people or keeping visitors away from patients who desire privacy will help establish the atmosphere where my patients can possible have the most successful medical outcome.

  • Allinson, M. (2016). How to build and maintain trust with patients. The Pharmaceutical Journal, 297(7895). URI: 20201862
  • Boyle, J.S. & Andrews, M.M. (2015). Transcultural concepts in nursing care. Philadelphia: LWW.
  • Josipovic, P. (2000). Recommendations for culturally sensitive nursing care. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 6(3), p. 146-152. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-172x.2000.00201.x
  • Leininger, M. (2002). Culture care theory: A major contribution to advance transcultural nursing knowledge and practices. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 13(3). 189-92. doi: 10.1177/10459602013003005