Culture in Nursing Practice

Culture in nursing practice

Culture is the beliefs, customs, and traditions of a group of people. Nurses need to familiarize themselves with the culture of the patients before offering medication. Culture does not only affect the perspective of the patient about health care but also that of the nurse practitioners. Therefore, nurses need to examine their beliefs as well as those of their patients.

Familiarizing yourself with the patient’s culture helps you offer medication that is congruent with their beliefs. Munoz and Campinha-Bakote developed a five-component model for developing cultural competence. The first one is cultural awareness, cultural awareness means examining self to determine your cultural and professional background. You can use a cultural assessment tool to find out your beliefs and traditions.

After assessing yourself the second step is cultural knowledge. This is finding out information about different cultures and ethnic groups. You can read books, journals, and articles or even attend seminars and workshops to know more about different cultures. A nurse needs to filter through the information a patient offers to realize relevant cultural data, this is the fourth step, it is known as cultural skill. The last step is cultural encounters, interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds. This helps you familiarize yourself with many cultures.

It important for a nurse not to stereotype patients based on their looks. Ask them about their cultural background. Remember there is culture with subcultures do in-depth research to understand the subcultures.  A good nurse-patient relationship is essential. It develops trust and creates a rapport between the two parties. Define the roles of men and women in each culture. In some cultures, only the head of the family makes decisions about medication. As a nurse, you can open up about your culture to the patient to make them more comfortable and open.

Cultural acceptance and understanding are essential in the provision of health care. It helps a nurse practitioner to attend to diverse cultures who are seeking medical care. In the United States of America, there are both majority and minority cultures and ethnic groups. Those from minority groups are 37%. The American Nursing Association code of ethics states that nurses should respect the dignity, worth and unique traits of a patient. Therefore, it is the role of nurse practitioners to respect all cultures. Cultural competence helps the nurses to offer high-quality health care after understanding the needs of their patients.


Bourque Bearskin, R. L. (2011). A critical lens on culture in nursing practice. Nursing Ethics, 18(4), 548-559.

Feng, X., Bobay, K., & Weiss, M. (2008). Patient safety culture in nursing: a dimensional concept analysis. Journal of advanced nursing, 63(3), 310-319.

Maier-Lorentz, M. M. (2008). Transcultural nursing: Its importance in nursing practice. Journal of cultural diversity, 15(1), 37-43.




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