Transcultural perspectives in the nursing care of adults


Transcultural perspectives refer to the view that people from different cultures have on particular aspects and in this case, the nursing care of adults. Different societies have many strategies on taking care of adults in the society. The cultural background of a patient influences their behavior in the society. However, not all the individuals who come from a similar background portray the same behaviors. Actions vary depending on different cultural groups (Boyle, 2003). The provision of essential nursing care to individuals that respects and appreciates the sanctity of people’s lives needs the nurses to acquire cultural competence.

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When a nurse is on duty taking care of an adult patient who is from a different cultural background, the cultural competence is important because they will be able to know and respect the cultural preference of the patient or their beliefs. If a nurse fails to understand these cultural preferences, then there is a high possibility that the patient might consider them indifferent, insensitive, or even incompetent (Dyson, 2017). Nurses in their practice should make sure that they should not stereotype people or rather they should not treat patients with the notion that they will portray the same behavior if they are from the same cultural backgrounds.

The best way in which a nurse who is treating an adult can avoid stereotyping is by perceiving every adult patient as an individual and not as a group. In addition, they should find the cultural preferences of the individual. The use of a culture questionnaire or any other assessment tool can help the nurses identify the patient’s cultural beliefs and document them for the other health practitioners (Jenko & Moffitt, 2017). There are several factors that the nurses should be able to consider and study before providing patients services. These factors include the eye contact, communication, space and distance, touch, time and punctuality.

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In regards to space and distance, most human beings value their personal space. Most adults have a high preference on maintaining space so that they can do some of their personal activities. However, the amount of space that individuals wish to have to separate them from the others so that they feel comfortable is a cultural phenomenon (Douglas,, 2017). Many people may not have much concern about the personal space that the nurse practitioners offers, while other patients may require that the nurse provides them with sufficient personal space. For instance, one patient might find the act of the nurse sitting too close to them while providing services as a caring expression; while on the other hand, patients may find this behavior rude and an invasion of their personal space.

Research conducted by medical scholars’ shows that individuals from countries like the United States, Great Britain, and Canada need the most space between them and the others when acquiring medical services (Nursing2017, 2017). On the other hand, people from countries like Japan, Middle East, and Latin America, prefer staying close to others, and therefore require the least personal space. A nurse should be able to observe if a patient prefers to stay too close to them or too far away and respect their preference while giving nursing care. It is crucial to address the needs of the patients.

The eye contact is yet another critical aspect that elaborates on the transcultural perception of the nursing care in an adult. In the nursing training, most nurses learn to keep eye contact with the patient, an act that allegedly shows that the nurse cares about the patient and that they are willing to listen to them and provide services to them. The act of eye contact helps the patients feel comfortable in the care of the nurse. However, some cultures find maintaining eye contact rude. American Indians, Appalachian, Asian, Indo-Chinese and Arabic communities do not appreciate eye contact and find it very aggressive and impolite (Allen, 2010). These patients have a strong tendency of turning away their eyes when talking to the nurses and this is the primary way that the nurses can tell that these people do not like eye contact.

Other signs that the nurses should look for to identify if maintaining the eye contact makes the patient feel uncomfortable includes, the patient staring at the floor when the nurse attempts to make conversations with them. According to the American Indian culture, such an act may not necessarily show that the patient is shy, but rather it could portray respect and indicates that the patient is paying close attention to the nurse. In other cultures, like the Hispanic community, the patient may fail to maintain eye contact because the nurse might be older, because of the sex, position of authority or even the economic status in an attempt to show respect. A nurse should be able to analyze how the different cultures behave when it comes to maintaining eye contact to avoid the misunderstandings that may arise.

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Communication is another cultural aspect that influences how the nurses should provide services to the adult patients. Communication is important in patient care because it assists in quick recovery of the patient. In communication, the issue that appears includes the challenge of full disclosure or informing the family members about the illness of the adult patient. For instance, a nurse may think that it is appropriate for a patient to have full disclosure and information of the diseases that affects them. However, the culture of the patient’s family may have the belief that it is only appropriate for the nurse to inform them about the patient’s illness especially of it is a chronic disease so that they can protect the patient (Nursing2017, 2017). The patient might also not feel like they should get information about their diagnosis but rather feel that the relatives should have the knowledge about their illness.

It is imperative for nurses to learn the culture of different individuals because it helps in understanding the patient. Culture dictate how individuals interact with other people in the society. People from different cultures respond differently to touching. For instance, the Arabic and Hispanic cultures male health care practitioners or nurses may not have the permission to carry out certain examinations that require the touching of certain body parts of the females. Also in this Arabic and Hispanic culture, it might be wrong for the female nurses to provide health care services to the male patients. Many of the Asian Americans believe that the spirits reside in the head and therefore, touching the head of the people from this community is impolite (Jenko & Moffitt, 2017).

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Nurses using their cultural competencies should be able to explain to adult patients from such cultural backgrounds why they wish to touch their heads before carrying out the medical examinations. The Jewish culture also believes that women should be fully covered and therefore avoid contact with other individuals especially the male as it is considered impure (Dyson, 2017).

In conclusion, taking proper consideration of the different cultural beliefs and aspects will enhance the nursing care given to the adult patients. It is important to note that a nurse should be able to respect the different cultural beliefs of the various adult patients to make them comfortable during the treatments. The culture of an individual is an important in delivering of care to patients in the society. Nurses should incorporate communication and culture in their services to improve care for adults.

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  1. Allen, J. (2010). Improving cross-cultural care and antiracism in nursing education: A literature review. Nurse Education Today30(4), 314-320.
  2. Boyle, J. S. (2003). Transcultural perspectives in the nursing care of adults. MM Andrews & JS Boyle, Transcultural concepts in nursing care, 181-208.
  3. Douglas, et al. (2017). Journal of Transcultural Nursing. Retrieved 4 May 2017, from
  4. Dyson, S. (2017). Fundamental Aspects of Transcultural Nursing. Retrieved 4 May 2017, from
  5. Jenko, M., & Moffitt, S. (2017). Transcultural Nursing Principles. Retrieved 4 May 2017, from
  6. Nursing2017. (2017). UNDERSTANDING TRANSCULTURAL NURSING: Nursing2017. LWW. Retrieved 4 May 2017, from
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