Cultural Sensitivity Improves Outcomes For Cancer Patients

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Nurses and health care providers who care for patients of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds often face such challenges as unfamiliar languages and cultural beliefs. To provide optimum care, cultural sensitivity and knowledge are crucial, especially in the case of patients facing cancer.

In the April 2008 issue of MEDSURG Nursing, authors Marcos Pesquera, Linda Yoder and Marilyn Lynk outline key aspects of provider care that help patients understand their disease and reduce the anxiety that comes with facing a serious illness in an unfamiliar setting.

Nurses and other professionals first need to assess their personal attitudes and identify any biases or assumptions, Pesquera writes. Providers should then seek to understand a patient’s particular culture and its influence on cancer prevention and control. To further build trust, health care professionals need to demonstrate empathy and validate the patient’s comprehension by asking such questions as “Do you understand what I am asking you to do?”

The authors point out that culturally-competent care “requires a commitment on behalf of an entire institution – personnel, programs, policies, and resources – to embrace cultural competence and reduce health disparities.”

Cancer: Caring and Conquering’ column: Improving Cross-Cultural Awareness and Skills to Reduce Health Disparities in Cancer
Marcos Pesquera, MPH, RPh; Linda Yoder, MBA, PhD, RN, AOCN®, FAAN; and Marilyn Lynk, PhD;
MEDSURG Nursing April 2008 –

About MEDSURG Nursing – The Journal of Adult Health

MEDSURG Nursing, The Journal of Adult Health, is the official journal of the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN). The journal provides its readers with the multidisciplinary information they need to provide clinically excellent patient care and to enhance their nursing practice. MEDSURG Nursing supports adult health/medical-surgical nurses as they strive for excellence in patient care, private practice, and outpatient health care settings in urban, suburban, and rural locations. Each peer-reviewed issue of MEDSURG Nursing features a comprehensive discussion and description of today’s clinical issues in adult health/medical-surgical nursing. MEDSURG Nursing and AMSN are committed to the advancement of adult health/medical-surgical nursing practice. The journal is published six times a year.

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