Cultural care in nursing : a critical analysis

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The phenomenon of human globalisation has led to the creation of a new social world, one which is characterised by its cultural diversity. Health services constitute one of the most fundamental of social organisations, so with this change, has come a need for nurses to provide relevant and appropriate care to the multiplicity of peoples who now live in contemporary social communities. Providing appropriate nursing care today is demanding new skills of nurses and to ensure that they can meet this demand, new knowledge and understanding is required. To do this well, constitutes one of the greatest contemporary challenges facing nursing. The aim of this study was to identify and analyse the theories and models of nursing that hold authority on and guide cross-cultural care giving in nursing. The thesis underlying this study was to respond to the question - when nurses have had access to cultural care theory and its related literature for some 30 years, why has this not, as yet, had a significant impact on nursing? The intent being to explore the genesis and development of the knowledge used to underpin cross-cultural care in nursing and by doing so assist nurses to better understand, in the fullest sense, the meanings that are being created and conveyed. To achieve this, a qualitative methodology was employed to make possible the description and interpretation of existing theory with a critical approach being taken towards that text. Understanding and unmasking the theory revealed both overt and covert beliefs and ideas intrinsic to the discourse, which have the potential to shape and configure nurses’ attitudes, opinions and perspectives. This research has considered, explored and analysed contemporary theories of cross-cultural nursing to provide clarification and enhance the capacity of nurses to gain a fuller understanding of cross-cultural care. It offers new insights into the viewpoints being advanced and opens up fresh possibilities for the development of a deeper understanding of Western scholarship on culture in nursing. The findings also identify areas for continued inquiry, which if focused upon and developed into the future, could contribute to improvements in nursing and greater understanding of the complex domain of cross-cultural care.
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