Culture and Spirituality as it Relates to Health Care

Discuss the most meaningful aspects of culture and spirituality as it relates to health care. Include the topics of culture, spirituality, vulnerable populations; religious diversity and complementary, alternative and integrative health practices. Describe how this content will be beneficial to you in your future advanced nursing role.

The adaptation of new perspectives in care is regarded as one of the most effective models in introducing nascent positive changes within the healthcare sector. As a consequence, cultural competence and spiritual awareness have emerged as invaluable aptitudes within contemporary clinical practice and hailed for improving patient outcomes. Cultural competence espouses developing cognizance of one’s environment, understanding a patient’s social background, valuing cultural differences, and providing appropriate care. Its primary objective is to ensure cultural needs are met to guarantee quality care while bolstering comprehension of the plan of care in use. Spiritual awareness, on the other hand, involves being aware of patient’s spiritual needs and working towards providing them. Cultural competence and spiritual awareness are characterized by meaningful aspects which are directly related to healthcare.

            Culture and spirituality are fundamental in healthcare due to their acknowledgement of today’s multicultural society. Cultural diversity and religiosity are universal defining aspects of humanity which cannot be ignored during the provision of essential care service. Furthermore, they are part of holistic care which underscores the importance of a holistic approach that includes the mind, body, and soul within the overall process. According to Meyer (2016), cultural competence and spiritual awareness have been instrumental in the introduction of subjective and objective techniques in the provision of care. As a result, patients with debilitating psychiatric conditions and those battling chronic ailments such as cancer now experience a great deal of relief and comfort from the enervating discomfort caused by their ailments. Within this context, the aforementioned mentioned competencies ensure that a patient-centered approach takes precedence during treatment with the aim of improving outcomes. It also provides a unique opportunity for clinical staff to interact directly with patients from diverse ethnic, racial, and religious background which further hones their skills in cultural competence. The eventually develop close relationships with individual patients, fostering an environment of understanding while reducing incidences of bias and overt stereotyping.

            The development of resilience in patients is also a central aspect of culture and spirituality in healthcare.  They are essentially applied within a clinical setting as a novel approach which has been tried and tested when endeavoring to raise patient’s spirits, especially crucial when seeking to improve wellbeing. According to Nolan & West (2015), poor patient participation in the plan of care and the adoption of fatalistic attitudes have been linked to poor patient outcomes particularly in ethnic minorities and vulnerable cultural groups such as Latino immigrants (p. 223). As a result, they are more likely to experience adverse effects during treatment and recovery, which ultimately increases mortality rate. For instance, a longitudinal study conducted by Arrey et al. (2016) in his examination of the role of cultural competence and spiritual awareness in HIV/AIDS subjects reveals considerable improvements in resilience. This is not surprising since both strategies underscore the prominence of identifying cultural and spiritual base from which treatment is then guided. Spiritual practices such as meditation, prayer, and belief in an all-powerful Creator aids patients to cope with incapacitating medical conditions by instilling mental grit and confidence. It is for this reason that nurses are particularly encouraged to gain a firm comprehension of a wide array of cultural and religious beliefs since it ultimately allows them to provide tailored care.

            Culture and spirituality also represent some of the most integral aspects of crucial services such as palliative care.  They are particularly essential during end-of-life care since it allows patients adopt a pragmatic realization of their current reality which ultimately results in acceptance. Spirituality, through major world religions such as Jainism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam, permits patients to gain a deeper understanding of death as a cycle of life. A spiritual understanding of death breeds understanding of current circumstances using patient’s beliefs as a guide in the provision of suitable treatment. Cultural competence is particularly important when dealing with a population as diverse as the one found in the United States since patient’s needs differ from one ethic group to the next. It also creates a unique communication channel between care givers and patients which then ensures that beliefs are soundly understood. Medical practitioners now commonly rely in the PRIME model curriculum to inform their application of cultural competence within a medical setting. The consequential effect of this particular strategy is an overall improvement in their ability to care for a diverse population while applying best practices. It is worth noting that this information will be important in my role as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) since it will allow me to customize treatment for patients after considering cultural and spiritual beliefs. Using patient’s sociocultural profiles will, thus, aid the decision-making process by taking specific needs into consideration.            

In conclusion, culture and spirituality represent a recent transformation in care methodology which now popular within the healthcare sector. Aspects of cultural competence and spiritual awareness acknowledge diversity in society, aid patients in developing cultural competence, and are particularly essential to palliative care. Sociocultural and spiritual profiles with, therefore, be fundamental in my future role as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) in the creation of apposite plans of care.

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