OF Becoming Better Nurses through Diversity Awareness
By Marianne Jeffreys
Every day, nurses make a positive difference in human lives by providing high quality health care. But now, in the 21st century, nurses are providing that health care within an increasingly multicultural and global society.
octor Madeleine Leininger, founder of the field of transcultural nursing, says that providing culturally competent— that is, culturally specific —nursing care must be customized to fit with the patient's own cultural values, beliefs, traditions, practices, and lifestyle (Leininger, 2002; Leininger & McFarland, 2002, 2006). Quality health care can only occur within the patient's cultural context. Also, we must create workplaces that embrace diversity among healthcare professionals and that seek to promote multicultural workplace harmony and prevent multicultural workplace conflict. Both of these endeavors begin with diversity self-awareness and diversity awareness.
Diversity Awareness vs. Diversity Self-Awareness
Diversity self-awareness occurs when we reflect on our own cultural identity, realize our own cultural values and
beliefs, and recognize the differences within our own cultural group(s). Diversity awareness refers to an active, ongoing conscious process in which we recognize similarities and differences within and between various cultural groups. Diversity assessment necessitates cultural assessment of patients and cultural sharing among healthcare professionals. Assessment and sharing should aim to maximize health outcomes and facilitate multicultural workplace harmony and collaboration. Diversity awareness is most comprehensive when we recognize how the range of similarities and differences may influence the plan of care and professional collaboration: “Diversity may exist based on birthplace, citizenship status, reason for migration, migration history, food, religion, ethnicity, race,...