Heritage assessment for evaluating the needs of whole person


Part 1

Heritage is the level to which a person mirrors his/her tribal culture though lifestyle (Spector, 2008). Basically, nursing assessment contains numerous aspects and heritage assessment is among the aspects. Heritage assessment enables nurses to collect more information and data regarding patients’ culture. Nurses collect information regarding the patient’s values and beliefs on health. Heritage includes the beliefs of the person, his/her family, community, ethnicity, as well as religious beliefs (Spector, 2009).

Basically, nurses are professionally obligated to respect beliefs and cultural choices of patients since the cultural values and beliefs influence patient care and health outcomes. Therefore, it is important for nurses to be aware of the patients’ beliefs and cultural values in order to deliver competent nursing care. Therefore, the significance of heritage assessment is that it facilitates cultural competency where the nurse interviews the patients and establishes the things that the patients values in his/her life (Schmit, 2005).

In addition, heritage assessment enables patients to communicate their cultural beliefs, values and customs and hence results to competent patient care. Heritage assessment also facilitates respectful care because when patient provides comprehensive information regarding their preferences and values, they get treatment respectfully. Heritage assessment assists nurses to examine multidisciplinary strategies, attitudes, as well as behaviors (Thomas, 2011). As a result, nurses are able to deliver care in a cross-cultural manner and provide high quality care. The heritage assessment tool gives full background information of the patient and nurses can utilize the information in provision of suitable care services. More importantly, heritage assessment allows nurses to understand patients’ situation and as a result identify patients’ cultural differences, similarities, social aspects and also their stress factors (Higginbottom et al, 2011).

Part 2

Every family handles issues differently according to their cultural beliefs. The interviewed families include Africa American, Bahamian and Caucasian.  Culture is shaped by values, beliefs and practices that are shared by members of similar cultural group (Thomas, 2011).

First Interviews: Personal Assessment

I was born in United States and spent my childhood in U.S. as well. In my family, we are natives of America and hence I was born in the U.S. All members of my family are Christians, and Protestants to be precise. In regard to spirituality, my family is heavily spiritual and religious. However, I have friends from different religious backgrounds and religious is not a determining factor when it comes to establishing friendships. We are only close with the nuclear family members but some distant with members of the extended family. For example, I rarely visit my uncles but I often visit my sister who does not live with us.

We all have formal education in my family. When it comes to health issues, I share the information among the family members because we are very close. I am also very sensitive regarding my health and whenever I have a health issue, I visit a healthcare organization for assessment. Regarding eating habits, I often consume fast foods. However, once in a while I make traditional foods.

My friends come from diverse ethnic backgrounds and they range from American whites, Africa Americans, Caucasians, Mexicans, even immigrants. Ever since my childhood, English has been my first language and this is the language I always use.

Second Interview

The interviewed family member lives in Bahamas. The interviewee was born and raised in Bahamas though the grandparents were African natives before they migrated to the US many years ago. She is married and lives with her husband and their two sons. The family has adopted a Bahamian culture which has strong African influence, particularly in regard to food and religion. The interviewee is a Christian and a roman catholic. She started attending church when she was still young and together with her family they are deep in spirituality. She also believes that God is the giver of health and strength but she always seeks medical attention whenever unwell. She lives with her parents and their family is a close knit. She visits most of her family members who live far and this also includes the extended family members, indicating the significance of family in her culture. She added that they share almost all aspects of their lives among family members, including health issues.

According to her, people in Bahamas are family oriented and often gather to celebrate ethnic meals. Most native foods include fruits and vegetables and conch is the main ingredient in most Bahamian dishes. The interview often takes part in ethnic events and most of her friends come from her ethnicity. Similarly, most of her friends are Catholics and they often recite the rosary together which she emphasized is a strong pillar of her faith.

Her native language is Creole although she mostly uses English which is the language she uses in communication. The main diet in her family mostly consists of vegetables, cereals, fruits and seafood.

Third Interview

The interviewee was a Caucasian and a white American. He is a Latin American was born and raised in U.S. Both of his parents were also born in U.S. He is married and lives with his wife, who they have three sons. His, is a close family where family members share most of their lives’ happenings.

In regard to religion, he is a Christian and particularly a roman catholic. However, he rarely attends church and does not believe much in spirituality. His friends also come from different religious backgrounds and this includes also Muslims. Similarly, his friends come from different ethnic backgrounds. In addition, he rarely takes part in ethnic events because he does not regard highly ethnic associations.

He is a university graduate and so is the wife. Both of them have health insurance and are adequately informed regarding health issues. Proper diet and physical exercises are important to the interview. His diet mainly consists of fruits and vegetables and he rarely takes fast food.

His first language is English. He always uses in all his communications. In addition, his verbal and written English is excellent.


The heritage assessment tool avails important information to nurses to help understand cultural aspects of the patient and their backgrounds. Health promotion is based on the patient’s heritage and culture. For a nurse to be able to provide effective care, it is important to base the care on individuals’ culture.  This informs patients that nurses care about whom they are and their background.

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  1. Heritage Assessment Tool <http://wps.prenhall.com/wps/media/objects/663/679611/box_6_1.pdf>
  2. Kelly C. (2014). Heritage Assessment in Nursing. New York: GRIN Verlag.
  3. Schmit K. (2005). Nursing Implications for Treating “Kanser” in Filipino Patients. Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing. 7(6), pp.345-353.
  4. Higginbottom G, Richter M, Mogale R, Ortiz L, Young S & Molle O. (2011). Identification of nursing assessment models/tools validated in clinical practice for use with diverse ethno-cultural groups: an integrative review of the literature. BMC Nurs. 10(6), pp. 1-8.
  5. Thomas, N.D. (2011). The importance of culture throughout all of life and beyond. Holistic Nursing Practice. The Science of Health and Healing, 15(2), 40-46.
  6. Spector, E. (2008). CulturalCare: guides to heritage assessment and health traditions. New Jersey: Prentice Hall Health.
  7. Spector, E. (2009). Cultural diversity in health and illness. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
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