We had an assignment this week to watch a movie with no sound, only subtitles. It was an extremely difficult assignment. I had never seen the movie before and I knew I was missing out on so much emotion and feeling from not being able to hear the music, expressions, tones and other noises I take for granted everyday. This was a great assignment to demonstrate to me how it feels to be in a minority culture. I felt like I was missing so much that I knew was there. I’m sure there are far more set backs from being deaf than just having to read subtitles, but this assignment was very effective.
While the assignment was specific to the Deaf culture it can be applied to any culture. As a nurse it will be extremely important to be sensitive to the needs of my patients. This really demonstrated the need for me to also be culturally sensitive as well! I need to be pro-active in recognizing when my patients are missing something. Whether that be a language barrier, a medical understanding of what is going on with their care, and most importantly, my attention. If my attention is somewhere else then they aren’t receiving the care that they need to heal properly.
This week I watched the movie McFarland USA. McFarland is based on a true story of a group of high school migrant workers, who, with the help of their coach, win the 1987 California State Cross Country meet. This cross country meet was the first of its kind in 1987 and the likelihood of it being won by Hispanic migrant workers was a long shot. The movie uses several cases of humor to present ignorant stereotypes placed on Hispanics. What left the greatest impression on me is that it took effort on both sides to break down walls and accomplish something great. Cultural walls and boundaries are put up by those within a culture and those outside. Each side of a culturally diverse situation must work to break down the walls that are established and go on to accomplish something great. This is the concept that I want to carry with me into my nursing practice. To break down walls and seek to know people as individuals.
I’m usually pretty honest with myself. My wife gets upset at how honest I am with others. This post may get me in trouble.
I have been very judgement of Muslims in my life. Yes, I am sure I have been influenced by the medias portrayal of events during my 40 years. I have always been very accepting of people who are different, however, in my own mind I have never extended this courtesy to Muslims. I thought that I would be cold and judgmental towards Muslims in my nursing career.
As I read this weeks article on Muslims and Healthcare, I found that as I read, my initial thoughts of disrespect and disregard left an immediate bad taste in my mouth. I found that in my own mind I was crying out that I should treat them the way I would want to be treated. People are individuals. Muslims have a belief set like any other religion, there are those who would twist those beliefs to fit their views. This is not unique to Muslims alone. An individual is either good or bad because of who they are and the actions they take. No religion should be stereotyped and treated poorly just based on the name.
I was wrong for that in the past and have enjoyed the opportunity to understand the Muslim faith a little better.
This week we have been studying the Catholic Faith. I was raised by my mother in the Catholic faith and this week has brought back many memories. I am very grateful for the foundation of faith that my experience in the Catholic church gave me. I am also grateful for the ability to share these experiences with my own children and allow them to be a part of what I experienced as a child.
Going over some of these rituals and beliefs will help me in my nursing experience to remember how diverse patients can be. Catholic patients will be very concerned about baptizing their young children as well as administering last rights to their dying family. Regardless of my own views on these rituals they are of great importance to Catholic patients and should be respected as such.
As a paramedic I had many encounters with the homeless culture. While I don’t look at them all with the same stereotypes they had many commonalities to them. We were called out several times to incidents where some of the homeless were breaking into vacant homes for a safe place to sleep. In the winter we would transport several homeless to the hospital each shift for intoxication. This allowed them a warm place to sleep and a good meal. We spoke with many of these individuals and found that they had plenty of money each month for adequate housing but didn’t find it a priority. Some of these individuals were mentally ill but they were the minority. Regardless of our interactions with them they definitely appeared to have a strong culture among them with cultural bonds to one another and culture norms.
Looking back on my experiences with them I can say that each one was an individual with individual circumstances and views. While they shared commonalities with the other homeless it was a result of lessons learned on the streets and not a medical illness or disposition. Some of them we came to know and respect a lot for what they had faced in life. We even bought Christmas gifts and Thanksgiving dinners from year to year. It was a pleasure to be a part of some of their lives.