Different Cultures and Views of Life
Different Cultures and Views of Life
Culture is composed of beliefs, cultural patterns, and values that have an influence on how people perceive, and react to situations, and the manner in which they relate to other people. The influence of culture is evident in society in terms of its effects on health, illness, disability, quality of life, treatment, care, life, and death. Culture is mostly divided into group-oriented culture and self-oriented culture, whereby the former is prevalent in Asian societies and Middle-Eastern countries, while the latter is more prevalent in Western societies (Singh 2008, p. 23). The purpose of the essay is to discuss the kind of problems/cultural clashes that might arise when families with roots in a group-oriented culture meet a very individually-oriented culture in Western Europe.
When families with a group-oriented cultural background are exposed to an individually-oriented culture, language barriers, communication issues, and cultural orientation could significantly result in cultural clashes. These differences have an impact on the level of health care provided because poor communication could result in poor remedies and decreased satisfaction with the kind of health care services provided (Singh 2008, p. 23). In other instances, the nurses in Western Europe may overlook the values, beliefs, and way of life of patients from Asian societies and Middle-Eastern backgrounds.
The primary strength of individually-oriented culture is that patients have autonomy over their health, life, and the form of treatment they require (Qingxue, 2003, p. 23). In addition, the patient can discuss issues of death without involving family members. This is contrary to a group-oriented culture where patients lack autonomy as the family and society have an influence on their life and death (American Psychological Association, 2016). The primary advantage of group-oriented culture with regard to health, life, treatment, and death issues is that the oldest, most experienced, knowledgeable, and superior in the group make crucial decisions. In spite of the strong relationships among people in a group, group-oriented culture denies patients autonomy and the ability to make decisions that concern their health and life (Koutoukidis, Stainton, Hughson, & Tabbner, 2013, p.145). Therefore, group-oriented culture is complex compared to individual-oriented culture because a nurse has to deal with numerous persons before a final decision is approached.
Mutual understanding between these two cultures can be created through cultural competency in order to develop a well-working and integrated system for the individual and the family in Western Europe. Bainbridge, McCalman, Clifford, and Tsey (2015) pointed out that cultural competency entails a “set of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together to enable a system, agency, or professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations” (p. 2). Thus, to ensure that health professionals are in a position to provide health care services and improve the quality of life, by treatment of illness, cultural competency is required. For instance, cultural competency allows nurses to understand the beliefs of people from other cultural backgrounds in terms of how the people deal with illness, care, life, and death. Thus, it is the obligation of the nurses and other health care providers in Western Europe to provide accessible, affordable, and quality health care to people from a group-oriented cultural background and to respect as well as promote the health of the people (Cunningham 2009, p. 156). A culturally competent healthcare system not only acknowledges, but also incorporates the importance of cultural differences, cultural knowledge expansion, and the adoption of healthcare services that can meet the culturally-unique needs.
In case of illness, disability, and death, the Western Medical systems advocate for principles of individualism in terms of informed consent and autonomy. Contrary, Eastern cultures, especially Asian cultures eschew the principle of community and interactive decision-making (American Psychological Association, 2016). Thus, observing the culture of the patient is important to avoid the conflicting issues associated with cultural diversity. Cultural awareness across health care in individually-oriented societies could also play an integral role in accommodating the health needs of patients from group-oriented cultural backgrounds. In addition, cultural awareness can also enhance successful communication and understanding between Western healthcare providers and their Eastern patients from their different cultural backgrounds (Bainbridge, et al., 2015, p. 5). Understanding cultural differences could result in increased satisfaction with care, compliance, use of correct remedies, accurate histories, and increased participation in preventive screening.
Thus, culture influences people in terms of its effects on health, illness, disability, quality of life, treatment, care, life, and death. Individually-oriented culture compared to a group-oriented one gives the patient autonomy over death, life, care, illness, and treatment. Cultural competency could play a major role in ensuring effective communication and understanding when dealing with people from group-oriented cultures when providing treatment, and care, and addressing the issue of life and death.
American Psychological Association. (2016). End-of-Life Issues and Care [Online]
Bainbridge R, McCalman J, Clifford A, & Tsey, K. (2015). Cultural competency in the delivery of health services for Indigenous people. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. [Online]
Cunningham, M. (2009). State of the world’s Indigenous peoples. New York: Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations.
Koutoukidis, G., Stainton, K., Hughson, J., & Tabbner, A. R. (2013). Tabbner’s nursing care: Theory and practice. Chatswood, N.S.W: Churchill Livingstone.
Qingxue, L. (2003). Understanding Different Cultural Patterns or Orientations Between East and West, Shijiazhuang Mechanical Engineering College.
Singh, B. D. (2008). Managing conflict and negotiation. New Delhi: Excel Books