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The diversity of U.S. population has necessitated for provision of culturally competent care based on the needs of individual patients. Nurses are positioned to provide culturally competent care to ensure positive patient outcomes (Ritter, Graham, 2017). Provision of culturally competent care is important in reducing health care disparities among various racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Nurses are responsible in providing quality and safe care based on patient’s cultural beliefs, values, and practices. Most of the Native Americans live in rural and isolated areas; thus, making provision of care a challenge. A culturally competent health care system is important in improving health outcomes and quality of care.
Many Native Americans experiencing homelessness in towns and cities suffer from various interwoven issues including excessive consumption of alcohol, intergenerational violence and trauma, mental health problems, substance abuse, and extreme poverty. According to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Native Americans are always overrepresented by 19% among people experiencing the problem of homelessness (Noe et al., 2014). Also, this population group have higher rates of excessive intake of alcohol and substance abuse.
Working with patients from diverse cultural backgrounds has resulted to some opportunities and challenges for nurses when delivering culturally competent care (Ritter, Graham, 2017). Nurses should identify the differences in cultural beliefs, values, and practices that may arise in the clinical practice when providing care to Native Americans. To address these issues affecting the Native Americans requires improved cultural competence in the clinical practice among caregivers to ensure that the treatment and care are sensitive and relevant to Native Americans. Based on the analysis of some scholarly articles and my personal clinical experience, various strategies can be implemented to ensure provision of culturally competent care to Native Americans.
The first strategy is to perform a self-assessment on cultural competence. As a registered nurse working in a culturally diverse setting, it is important to determine your personal strengths and weaknesses in relation to cultural competence in the workplace. A number of tools for undertaking a self-assessment on cultural competence have been designed by some organizations. Secondly, as a health care professional working with people diverse cultural backgrounds, it is important to obtain a certificate in cultural competence. Obtaining this certificate will enable a nurse to increase his/her cultural knowledge, skills, and awareness through attending a number of culturally competent workshops, seminars, or training (Noe et al., 2014). This strategy will ensure that an individual nurse gains an insight of some basic cultural beliefs, values, and practices of the Native Americans.
The third strategy is improving communication and minimize language barriers. Studies have shown that lack of effective communication and language barriers are the leading challenges that affect provision of culturally competent care to Native Americans. The worldview, values, and beliefs of Native Americans are strongly rooted within their traditional language use; thus, language is important in assessing their culture (Noe et al., 2014). It will be better when a nurse can speak the language of the Native Americans or find a translator who can help in communicating with patients having limited English proficiency. The last strategy is engaging directly in a cross-cultural interactions with Native American patients. Effective interaction with patients when providing care requires a nurse to understand and effectively explore cultural needs, values, beliefs, and practices of the patients.
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Native Americans who make up the smallest racial group and the most growing ethnic groups are associated with numerous social and health issues that could hinder the provision of culturally competent care to them (Giordano et al., 2020). As a result, there is a need for effective strategies in health care practices and decision making to facilitate the provision of culturally competent care for this community. These strategies should take into consideration the beliefs and practices associated with every tribe among the native Americans, considering that each tribe is related to its values and lifestyles (Jacobs, 2020). This is especially important in effectively addressing their health care needs even as the population continues to grow and move into urban areas.
Understanding the comprehensive cultural practices of Native American families is one of the strategies that can be utilized in facilitating for provision of culturally competent care. Even through care for a family is personalized, considering cultural aspects such as the traditional family organization is essential towards achieving this goal (Purnell & Fenkl, 2019). For instance, parental and guardian activities among Native Americans are often given to grandparents or aunts and uncles, which the biological parents are engaged in economic matters and other social interactions. Therefore, when offering care for a Native American patient, it is essential to determine the family member who will be providing care for them so that they will be included in the care and teaching (Purnell & Fenkl, 2019). Further, it is essential for health care personnel to avoid judging biological parents for not being part of the patient’s care. The care policies should also include the role of extended family in health care decisions.
Assimilation of beliefs, values, and taboos related to wellbeing can also be incorporated into care for Native Americans to achieve culturally competent care. This strategy requires awareness of the most common practiced cultural traditions in the community. For instance, there is a common belief among the population that grieving for a person who is dying hurries them to die. Thus it is inappropriate to grief while offering care for a Native American who is dying. Having an insight into such beliefs and taboos as well as incorporating them in practice is vital in the provision of culturally competent care (Butler et al., 2016). Further, when determining the cultural beliefs to be assimilated, it is essential to take into consideration the generation of the Native American patient, whether their geographic location is urban or rural, as well as their ties with extended family or other community members.
Practical and tailored communication strategies can also play a critical role in encouraging competent care of Native America. For instance, before the provision of care to the patient, it is essential to establish a rapport with them. This could be achieved through brief introductions and assurance that they are cared for. Further, it necessary to determine the barriers that could prevent the establishment of rapport and communication hence hindering competent care. For example, among most Native American cultures, looking one directly in the eye while talking to them is considered to be disrespectful (Giordano et al., 2020). Therefore, this communication style should not be seen by healthcare personal as a lack of interest or understanding.
In conclusion, understanding the traditions and beliefs of Native Americans is a fundamentally important aspect of offering culturally competent care. Additionally, developing rapport, as well as showing concern to them, should not be overlooked. Through these, among other strategies, the goal of offering culturally care for the community can be achieved.