Cultural competence is the process of learning that helps in studying and understanding different cultures in a given geographical area. When undergoing a medical school in Britain, one should understand social and cultural believes, and different takes about illness and health care. This is because the British society is rapidly diversifying in ethnicity and cultural believes. This requires the graduates to have knowledge about cultures, due to having patients with different and cultural diverse backgrounds. Different communities have different cultures, thus making it a necessity to understand different cultures. Some communities have `tight’ cultures that have many believe. In case of certain diseases, it makes hard for the doctor to treat them. This is because some patients have a different view of drugs and medicine .culture in many communities has changed over the years. Progress in technology has led to the massive change in culture to some communities.

An interview with a Cancer Patient

I had an interview with Mike. Mike is diagnosed with cancer of the bone. It is essential to know his health history and that of the family. This helps to know the correct treatment.

How long have you been with this disease?

I was first diagnosed with cancer of the bone six years ago. During that time, it was not that serious, but for now the disease is getting more complicated.

Is there anybody else in your family tree ever been diagnosed with this disease?

In the family tree, there have been cases like this before. At some   point, it has happened before me, starting from my grandfather. In any case, there were no hospitals by then, but the symptoms that he died with are the same I have. I tracked this down when I  diagnosed the disease. Coming down the line, my grandfather was also with the same disease. The disease is common in the family tree.

How many hospitals have you attended?

I have visited several hospitals. The doctors were not able to detect the disease at earlier stages. Out of the five hospitals that I have visited, only one diagnosed the disease. The rest could just make assumptions and prescribe me to fake medication. I think this has led to my deteriorating in my health. I have been under wrong medication all long.

What about in your community, have there been cases like this witnessed? Could it be that this disease is catalyzed by your environment?

This disease is rare in my community. Maybe they have not diagnosed the disease, but I have never heard any case like this before.  Talking of environment, I cannot make an assumption because the majority of the people may not have attended health units.

Could there by any chance be any other disease you are suffering from apart from this?

I have been diagnosed with diabetes before. This was sometimes back before I was diagnosed with cancer of the bone. Apart from diabetes and cancer of bone, there have been no other diagnosed diseases.

What about the other members of the family?

 Some of my people have got diabetes. This disease seems to be in almost every male member of the family. People including my grandfather, uncles and my dad have with diabetes. It is unfortunate it is in the family.

How do you feel living with this two disease?

 It is always depressing and demoralizing living with the two diseases. First of all you have to take proper and proper care of yourself. Eating habits should change so that to try and have decent health. Living with diabetes, I have to avoid starchy foods and eat more vegetables. This affects me financially because most of the vegetables are b purchased.

How does your own family treat you?

My family has been hugely supportive. They are there for me the time I need them most. They help me financially and always make sure that the meals that I take are the recommended. They remind me when I forget to take the medicines. Living in medication for the two diseases, I have to make sure that I take medicine all times, which my family makes sure that I do.

Does the other member of the community have any discrimination?

Some members in the community are exceedingly discriminative. They see me as an outcast, as a cursed man. Living with them requires one to have willpower. At times, I stay indoors to avoid being seen by people. Some of the people think that the disease can be transmitted by socializing with the person infected; hence they stay away from me as far as they can.

What is your family view about medication?

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Medication is accepted in the family. Unless earlier times when people did not believe in modern treatment and preferred the traditional one, my family has been in agreement with the terms of the medication. They have encouraged me to continue seeing the doctors and undergoing my medication.

Has your family helped in trying to live with the disease?

Emotionally they have been tremendously supportive. They have made me live with the fact that I am sick and that I am not getting any cure soon. Socially they have been warm and open with me. Some of the times I even forget that I am sick due to their support.

My Response

Following your family background, the disease is hereditary. Your geographical location does not affect your condition. Being with these two diseases for such a long time is an indicator that you have strong antibodies. It is a marvelous thing to hear that you get emotional satisfactory from your family, which is essential to your condition for the time being. Eating proper food is also encouraged to help in your condition. You should by all chances avoid those people who try to bring you emotions down. This will only worsen your condition.

My Opinion

In nursing, care is the most significant word and tool. Caring brings the development of the person involved in healing, growing facing illness and death. Culture is the biggest guidance in helping in the nursing care practices. It promotes proper and appropriate diagnosis. This helps in improving compliance with treatment recommendation .It also enhances the compatibility of biomedical and traditional health care. ‘Nursing’s central purpose is to serve human being in health, illness and if dying (Leininger 2001). For any nursing care to be beneficial in any health care values, expressions and patterns should be known clearly. The nurse and the client should have a pleasant conversation. The nurse should listen to the patient clearly with sympathy. This may help in the client opening up more and helping to find a better solution. Nursing requires a lot of discipline. As Leininger says nursing is a discipline and a profession, and the term `nursing’ thus cannot explain the phenomenon of nursing. Leininger (1995a) views `caring’ as the verb counterpart to the noun `care’ and refers it to a feeling of compassion, interest and concern for people.

Leininger says that she sympathizes with those nurses who do not understand the culture of their patients. She says that these nurses cannot do their job to the customer’s satisfaction.

Being ill and healthy is determined by various factors including how someone cope in his environment. Cultural and religious knowledge are essential ingredients in health care. Culture is crucial to every development of the life of a human being. A nurse should dig deeper to the background of the patient tracing back to his old folks. This may help in knowing whether the disease is hereditary or acquired (Clark 2008). To discover they understand the cultural care factors that a person’s health, social welfare, illness and death are the main concept of the cultural caring. A nurse with little or no cultural knowledge of the patient involved could be of real little help to the patient. This can be avoided by simply studying the patient’s culture. His can be done by simply interviewing the patient. Listening to them attentively and sympathizing with them makes the patient open up and hence makes their work easier. This leads to better services offered to the patient.


Transcultural nursing points out the cultural dynamics that helps the client nurse relationship. If there is a proper understanding of the culture, the nurse and the client may create a favourable care lifestyle for the well being of the client. The nurses should use their professional knowledge and the gained cultural knowledge to help their clients. It should be clearly understood that culture enhances the nurse –client exchange which also determines the health and recovery of the patient. A nurse who understands, and practices the culture of the patient is in a position to have positive effects on the client. Caring are the main objective of nursing. Nowadays nurses are faced with large numbers of cultural diversity. This is because the number of refugees and immigrants is in the rise. Learning and practicing these cultures helps gives the nurses’ easy times. It also helps them in helping their clients to their level best. It is always encouraging to nurses to see their clients recover to full.

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