Cultural Sensitivity and Health Care – Term Paper


Cultural sensitivity in healthcare

It is critical for medical practitioners understand the cultural values and beliefs of patients while offering health care services or treatment administration. Valuing the diversity in the patients’ population helps promote health care and on the other hand prevent an occurrence of diseases by engaging in the right activities in the society involved. Therefore, upholds culturally accepted interventions regarding the health issue at hand. In essence, cultural beliefs and practices are unique, and thus, within the healthcare setting, nursing practitioners are obliged to acknowledge this diversity in all healthcare operations and duties, particularly so while interacting with patients. Cross-cultural knowledge is essential to patient’s education and acceptability in the host society. As in the case of India, the variety of cultures in the different communities has significant implications when contrasted to the American culture in general

Therefore, it becomes a challenge to provide quality healthcare services to high populations with multicultural backgrounds as seen in India. As a society with diverse ethnicities, cultures languages and religion, Indian nursing practitioners from other communities may find it challenging to manage the present illness. For instance, it is fundamental for medical practitioners to appreciate the socio-cultural, psychological and even environmental aspects during and when carrying out disease diagnosis for patients. Also, cultural beliefs and perceptions could be resourceful while undertaking medical examinations, especially when body evaluation do not provide adequate results for perceived illnesses (Holland & Hogg, 2001).

The cultural norms and attitude are innate to humanity and therefore, have a significant relationship with the well-being of patients or rather treatment outcomes. Similar to the potential implications of religious practices and doctrines in the lives of people, traditional values, and beliefs as well as have both positive and adverse impact on patients’ physical and mental well-being. In India, culture-bound syndromes are common in the nursing care setting. In most cases, they determine the controversy surrounding the diagnosis (Worthington & Gogne, 2011). Unlike in India, the United States has more flexible cultural beliefs and values that are receptive to the nursing care information and advice. Therefore, contrary to Indian health care systems, there is a greater chance of accurate diagnosis and treatment as well as a successful health care delivery in America.

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Sultural sensitivity in medicine

Indian culture has a strong spiritual belief which teaches that there is an interconnectedness of all things in the universe and this includes, the society with their God or creator, nature as well as humankind. In most of the Indian traditions, there is a relationship between the powers in the spiritual realm such as healing and the community. In fact, it is very popular for a community to engage in rituals that embrace ancient Indian medicine such as healing. Most ceremonies and occasions, are aimed for traditional prayers and cleansing and usually undertaken to venerate the sacred and request for healing. Most often than not, Indians have a collective belief and consciousness about their cultural beliefs. For instance, in some communities, sickness was considered to be an imbalance between the mental, spiritual, social and physical interactions among individuals, families or a clan (Worthington & Gogne, 2011). Unlike in the United States where treatment is considered to be a perceived vital issues, in India however, healing is viewed as a sacred outcome which cannot be achieved without a spiritual aspect of the individual. In some Indian societies, there are certain diseases such as cancer and diabetes which are perceived to be ‘white man’s disease’ and thus, are treated using ‘white man’s medicine.’

A standard controversial health issue that has significant differences between the Indian culture and American culture concerns developmental disabilities. Although nurses are supposed to address the problem from a biomedical standpoint to determine its treatment, in India disability cases are linked to cultural beliefs such as curses. The belief is that such medical complications are seen due to the mother’s faults or both parents or even an act of God. A child born with a developmental disability is considered as a punishment for the parents due to the violation of traditional practices or punishment for past wrongdoing. Such perspectives lead to disturbances to parents and may fail to receive sympathy or support from the community in addressing the issue. In other communities, it is seen as the will of God or the effect of black magic and malevolent spirits. Whereas, the American Society recognizes the developmental disability as a factor related to biological issues which may be addressed (Holland & Hogg, 2001). The health sector has also established health centers to address such occurrence.


In this perspective, it is important to be mindful of the patients’ cultural factors as they can negatively impact their well-being. Such occurrence is not only experienced in the Indian cultures but also a common occurrence in other nations with strong cultural settings. They can affect daily nursing practices, and for this reason, it is important for a nursing practitioner to be more receptive and quickly adapt to the present cultural practices in the area of work. A nursing practitioner should find time to discuss the values and beliefs of patients, which could be an overarching challenge in providing appropriate treatment. They should keep an open mind on the symptoms reported by patients and recognize that each case presented is unique. Therefore, nurses will be ready to work by integrating different systems of medicine as well as remain conscious about the beliefs and attitudes of as well as remain receptive to the spiritual healing concept of the patient. The nursing care system should equally understand spirituality, cultural values and religious beliefs as a significant influence on the nursing practice. When nurses value diversity cultures in patients’ population, it increases the effectiveness of nursing care as they embrace culturally-sensitive health interventions, disease prevention practices and healthcare promotion (Holland & Hogg, 2001). The cross-cultural knowledge enables nurses to educate their patients better and show acceptance.


Holland, K., & Hogg, C. (2001). Cultural awareness in nursing and health care: an introductory text.

Worthington, R. P., & Gogne, A. (2011). Cultural aspects of primary healthcare in India: A case-based analysis. Asia Pacific family medicine, 10(1), 8.