Beth Lincoln, MSN RN, is the author of Reflections From Common Ground: Cultural Awareness in Healthcare. Beth will be our guest on RN.FM Radio on Monday, February 4th, 2013, and she has shared with us an insightful guest blog post that you will find below. Follow Your Bliss: a phrase coined by Joseph Campbell – lifelong student and teacher of the human spirit and mythology – inspired and encouraged me to be true to my life’s calling. Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, a challenge from Ekert Tollee – spiritual leader and healer – greets me each morning as I embark on my journey to provide culturally sensitive and competent health care to diverse populations. Continually sharing this vision with others was my inspiration to create Celemonde!, a company that provides cultural awareness consultation and education for all those who work in health care.
It was also the impetus of the book, Reflections from Common Ground – Cultural Awareness in Healthcare (2010), a compilation of current research, first account narratives and reflective exercises that inspire readers to recognize their own “culture.” An excellent guide and resource for anyone in the clinical and academic setting, this book provide an excellent opportunity to reflect on experiences, share stories and gain insight into the various ways culture influences our healthcare decisions and actions.
What do you need to consider when caring for someone from a different culture? First, and the most important, is that you understand that you come with a culture that influences all you think and do. Second, consider how are your cultural beliefs, values and practices are different than your patient’s, colleagues and/or students. Where do you find common ground? The enclosed chart, Reflections From Common Ground, and the sample questions below offer a window of opportunity to dig deeper and discover your personal culture. Are you ready?
Cultural Values & Beliefs
- Name two values/beliefs that your learned as a child.
- Who did you learn them from?
- Are they still important to you today?
- How do you learn best?
- Visual ~ Auditory ~ Written ~ Group?
- Do you talk fast or slow? Loud or soft?
- Do you use facial expressions & gestures to communicate?
- Is eye contact important to you?
- Are you comfortable with silence?
- Was there money for healthcare?
- For medicine?
- How were decisions made in your family?
- What was your role in the family?
- What was the role of the sick person?
- What were the beliefs about illness – physical & mental?
- How does religion/spirituality influence your decisions about health & illness?
- How does it help you at times of stress, illness, disability, or death?
- What do you believe causes illness?
- How was pain expressed?
- What home remedies did your family use?
- Do you still believe in their healing powers?
What did you learn about yourself? Your family? And now that you’ve answered these thought-provoking questions, please find a friend or colleague to try the same. Where did you all find common ground? Each time we take the time to discover, we get these “aha moments” explaining so much about why and how we can be effective care givers. The journey to cultural competence begins with the desire to know more and an openness to embrace the others. The need to know it stems from our professional mission to care.
Follow me on twitter (@celemonde), connect with me on Linkedin (Beth Lincoln), read my blog and learn more about the cultural awareness consultation and seminar opportunities at my website www.celemonde.com