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Nursing Assistant Monthly
Understanding cultural
differences
April 2013
Copyright © 2013 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.
What is culture?
 A shared set of expectations, customs, and beliefs
– Within an ethnic or regional group
– Within any group
 Examples
– Italian culture, Jewish culture, American culture
– Military, Baby Boomers, teenagers, ‘50s culture
April 2013
Understanding cultural differences
Copyright © 2013 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.
Cultural groups
 Are made up of unique individuals
– Not all members act or think alike
 Learning about cultural groups:
– Helps avoid misunderstandings
– Enriches our own life experience
– Can open us to new viewpoints
– Can help us to provide more individualized care
April 2013
Understanding cultural differences
Copyright © 2013 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.
Beware of assumptions
 Assumptions are automatic judgments we make about
others
 The problem with assumptions?
– They are often wrong
– They create barriers to communication
– They can offend others (people want to be recognized as individuals)
April 2013
Understanding cultural differences
Copyright © 2013 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.
Culture and caregiving
 Culture influences attitudes, values, and behavior
 Understanding residents’ cultural background:
– Helps us learn what is important to them
– Sets the stage for better communication
– Demonstrates respect and caring
April 2013
Understanding cultural differences
Copyright © 2013 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.
Cultural considerations
 One’s culture may influence choices about
– food
– bathing method and frequency
– physical touch
– pain relief
– end-of-life care
April 2013
Understanding cultural differences
Copyright © 2013 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.
Cultural considerations (cont’d)
 Culture may influence views and feelings about:
– the role of men, women, children
– body language
– the meaning of pain
– the meaning of illness
– death and dying
The examples are endless…Can you think of others?
April 2013
Understanding cultural differences
Copyright © 2013 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.
Communicating across cultures
 Keep an open mind
 Be a good listener
 Be respectful
 Express an interest in others’ viewpoints or ways of doing
things
 Be open to sharing your own cultural background
April 2013
Understanding cultural differences
Copyright © 2013 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.