Improving equity and cultural responsiveness with marginalised communities: Understanding competing worldviews

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2018, 27 (19-20), pp. 3810 - 3819
Issue Date:
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© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Aim: To explore the impact of culture on health, healthcare provision and its contribution towards health inequity experienced by some marginalised communities. Background: Health inequity is a global issue, which occurs across and within countries, and is the greatest barrier to worldwide health and the development of the human race. In response to this challenge, there is an international commitment to ensure universal health coverage based on the fundamental principle that individuals should be able to access healthcare services they need. Despite this, there is clear evidence that indigenous and other cultural minorities such as New Zealand Māori and Gypsy Roma Travellers still experience far poorer health outcomes when compared to the majority population. Furthermore, when they do access health care, their experiences are often not positive and this in turn results in reluctance to access preventative health care, instead accessing health services much later, reducing treatment options and compounding higher mortality rates. What is often not explored or examined is the impact of the different cultural beliefs of individuals in these communities and the nurses caring for them. Design: This is a position paper drawing upon research experience with New Zealand Māori and Gypsy Roma Travellers. We critically review the experiences of health inequity of marginalised communities. It does so by examining how these communities may have a different world view to the nurses caring for them, and it is this lack of understanding and valuing of alternative worldviews that contributes to the poorer health outcomes both communities face. Conclusion and relevance to clinical practice: As nurses work with many different individuals and groups, we have to find ways of ensuring a more embracing, culturally responsive healthcare environment which respects and values the beliefs of others.
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