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What is meant by cultural diversity and how does it apply to nursing Cultural diversity refers to the differences between people rooted in a shared belief and value system based on norms customs and way of life Knowledge of cultural diversity is important in all levels of nursing whether nurses are practicing in a clinical setting education research or administration This knowledge comes through communication and education between our clients colleagues and healthcare facilities Nursing World 2000The first step in overcoming cultural diversity is the awareness of stereotypes and prejudices The second step is learning how other people communicate What one person may consider as sexist racist or homophobic may actually be based on misunderstandings of the culture Its important to learn about the background of a particular culture to see what might be cause for misconception Raths 1999 In todays society nurses will come in contact with many cultural differences but knowing something about a culture will be an advantage for the nurse when faced with treating a patient with a background in that culture Not being able to communicate could severely hinder the treatment needed to save a life We have learned to use sign language or a translator to get around a language barrier but its difficult to con your way around ethnic traditions customs and taboos For example Some Vietnamese consider the head to be sacred and that it houses the soul and by touching the head you could allow the soul to escape Some Chinese believe that blood is the source of life and that taking any of it could lead to their death Some Hispanics believe that if someone looks at a child for any length of time without touching the child that that person has cast an evil spell on that child These examples may sound superstitious in our society but are very real in the cultures that believe in them which would make treating these cultures a
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