NR 394 Discussion Reflection on Cultural Perspective
NR 394 Discussion Reflection on Cultural Perspective
I grew up in a traditional American family. I am the youngest of 9: 5 boys and 4 girls. Both of my parents worked outside of the home, and the older kids often took care of the younger kids. My parents made sure there was a meal on the table every night. Most nights we would all eat together but as we got older, we were often going in different directions. Regardless dinner was made and most of us ate together most nights. My parents have fairly conservative views despite my mother being the only religious one of the two. So looking back, it was no surprise to me that my parents did not take it well when one of my brothers came out as gay and another one came out as transgender. They were not accepting of either one of my brother’s lifestyles. This caused a lot of heartache and sadness in the family.
I do not see things the same way as my parents. My husband and I have a family motto, “you be you”. My kids make fun of us for it because we are always saying it, but I know they appreciate knowing we will support them no matter what choices they make in life. It is far more important to me that my kids have healthy happy lives than to worry about what someone else may think. In today’s society, there is greater acceptance of the LGBTQ communities, but society is still not where it needs to be.
I think seeing all the conflict and pain in my family growing up has helped me embrace a true appreciation for allowing each individual to be uniquely themselves. Our reading this week stated that self-reflection and self-awareness may be the first step to acceptance for healthcare providers (Chamberlain College of Nursing, n.d.). Over the years I have learned it is not my place to judge any patient for their life choices. It is my duty to be accepting of those I care for and try to understand what is important to them in their care. Just as each culture is unique so is each individual within their culture. The healthcare system can be stressful for patients to navigate on its own and patients should not have the additional stress of worrying if their choices will be judged and their wishes honored.
Chamberlain College of Nursing. (n.d.). The changing family [Lecture notes]. Chamberlain University. https://chamberlain.instructure.com/courses/77751/pages/week-5-lesson-cultural-care-for-the-patient?module_item_id=11071289
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I grew up in one of the major cities in Poland. We lived in a small condo in a multigeneration household. Immediate and extended family were one of the highest priorities. I recall enormous family gatherings where we could meet all cousins, aunts, and unkles. My great-grandma was in a center of events. Our family members were the people that you can turn to to support each other. We cultivated all Polish traditions and holidays. I was taught respect and kindness towards others especially to the elderly and people with disabilities. Roman Catholic church and communism played an important role in the culture when I was growing up.
When I was 20 I moved to the United States. I knew the country from family and friends’ reports, various documentaries, and TV shows, however, upon arrival I experienced a cultural shock. I arrived at the busy Chicago area where one can meet everyone from everywhere. Walking down the street you could meet multiple people talking different languages, different ethnic backgrounds, races, and sizes, wearing different outfits. Walking into Chinatown or other countries’ villages was like traveling to a different continent. I was amazed by the availability of foods and other goods from all over the world. I am respectful and always work towards being culturally competent. I am very open-minded and nonjudgemental. I love to observe and learn about people’s traditions, language, and food. Going to college helped me even more with getting to know other cultures. I took an anthropology class which was a great introduction to learning about traditions other than mine. I love to travel and instead of sitting on the beach, I want to learn about the place and its people. Cultural sensitivity and competency help me to build a healing and trusting relationship with my patients and families to provide the best patient-centered care.
I grew up in the Chicago suburbs in an area with a very large Polish population. I married into a Polish family, but they were third generation in the U.S. Nonetheless, they were very conservative Catholics. It was hard for them to accept me since I had a child from a previous relationship. They eventually came to accept me and my child, but it was a long road. It was difficult to get them to accept me due to their deep Catholic beliefs. I was with my ex-husband for 18 years and we had 2 children. During those years his siblings found inspiration in my ability to change their family’s traditional beliefs and find acceptance in things different than what they knew. I was a bit of a trailblazer in the family and they learned a lot about acceptance from me and my oldest son.
Wow! It sounds like you had a difficult but good learning experience marrying into a culture different from your own. I am happy to hear that it resulted in deeper understandings on both sides. I myself had 2 children from a previous relationship before meeting my current partner. Although we are both Hispanic, his family did not approve of me for quite some time because they consider my husband to be the baby of the family and disliked that I already had 2 children. Moreover, I have always been a very independent woman and that is something the women in his family did not take a liking to. They felt as if I should be a housewife, while I was always taught to work and provide for my family as well.
It was most definitely an interesting experience for me, and many of my husband’s family members still do not accept me. Nonetheless, I continue to work hard and provide for my family as does my husband. I instill those same values in all 3 of my children as well. Thank you for sharing your story!
So interesting to get an inside perspective of someone who grew up in Poland. I love the importance placed on family. I feel like that is so important. Seeing how you grew up in a multigenerational family is vastly different from how I grew up across the country from the rest of my extended family. I do wish that I had the opportunity to make more of a connection with the rest of my extended family; although, I am close to my immediate family. I have also experienced cultural shock and can see how coming to America would have that impact on you. The diversity can be like sensory overload, but experiencing all of the aspects of different cultures is a journey that I will never tire of. It is all so fascinating.
I grew up in an American family. I have two brothers and am the oldest of the three of us. My mother was a stay home mom up until I was a senior in high school. My family was very family oriented and we spent our weekends, holidays and vacations with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. My grandparents were first generation from Ireland. I went to school with predominantly white middle class students. As a result, I wasn’t exposed to many other cultures besides my own. One thing I have realized is that different cultures perceive illness and mental health differently. I feel that I was raised in a fairly open minded household. When it came to my grandparents, they viewed mental health issues as a sign of weakness. As fairly religious people, they believed if you were struggling with mental health issues you just needed to go to church as you were not spending enough time with God. In addition to their Roman Catholic Irish culture, my grandparents are very secretive and never wanted extended family knowing when someone was “sick” in the family. Although as a child I never thought much about this, I definitely heard comments here and there and generally just believed mentally ill people were “crazy” which now as an educated person I understand is not only extremely ignorant but absolutely false.
In my later teen years my mother revealed to me that she had bipolar disorder. To me this was confusing. I had a loving and supportive mother, that to me seemed very “normal”. She was not at all what I pictured a mentally ill person to look or act like based on how my grandparents spoke of mentally ill people. My mother explained to me bipolar disorder, and that she takes medications to manage her symptoms. She revealed her struggles with my grandparents and their lack of support despite our close relationship with them. My grandparents really didn’t believe mental illnesses could exist and my mother said to me “If every other organ in your body can get sick than of course your brain can too.” Discovering that my mother had been bipolar my entire life and I had no clue, really changed my perspective on mental illness. I educated myself further and allowed myself to really try to understand.
As nurses we are exposed to various different cultures in our clinical practices and we must always be willing to learn. We learn more about cultures with each and every interaction we have with our patients. It’s important that we are open minded as we care for different cultures and never stereotype. Many of us have changed our cultural perspectives throughout our lifetime both in our professional and personal lives. Often, different cultures may perceive illnesses in different ways. Some cultures believe illness is a curse or an imbalance in the environment and so on. The same goes for different cultures’ perspectives in regard to mental illness. It is important that we provide support to our patients while always keeping in mind their cultural perspectives.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I can relate somewhat to your experience of how some families deal with mental health issues within. In our family they were secretive as well. I remember I had an uncle who had suddenly became withdrawn and became non-verbal. The adults explained it away with superstitious ideas such as some local witch put a spell on him, or some elemental spirit playing with him or he was possessed by some spirit. Now, I feel sad whenever I remember my uncle because he lived like that for decades and never given proper help. I’d like to think we have come a long way on how we handle mental health issues but we still need to do a better job of it.
I grew up as I have previously stated in very rural area with an unfortunate lack of cultural diversity. To me, this is a disadvantage of living in a rural community. Although geography was not of any assistance, my parents worked diligently to make myself and my brother aware of many different cultural backgrounds, as well as respecting and honoring others. Growing up in school at any time my parents heard about an opportunity for us to travel out of our area, they encouraged it. I would not say my perspective has changed, but I have become more aware as I have gotten older. I can use this in my clinical practice today by maintaining the same attitude of honor and respect to those with different cultural backgrounds and beliefs. As nurses, we are to care for and treat each and every patient with respect and regard to their cultural needs.