The Role of Transcultural Concept of Leininger In Nursing Essay

Understanding and implementing culturally competent and culturally congruent care are the key factors for effective and excellent nursing care (Srivastava, 2007). However, health care provider’s roles and responsibilities in meeting health care needs of the clients in consideration to cultural perspective and diversity are getting more challenging and complicated due to increased number of people from a group of multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society, which, in turn requires health care providers to acknowledge and understand variations of cultural healthcare beliefs, values and practices.The Role of Transcultural Concept of Leininger In Nursing Essay

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Transcultural nursing is essential in the process of nursing care because of the different factors, which includes increasing diversity and …show more content…
Transcultural nursing helps ensure effective communication, accurate assessment and culturally appropriate interventions to patients with distinct cultural backgrounds. (Andrews & Boyle, 2008; Giger & Davidhizar, 2004)
Galanti (2008) report that increased patient contentment to health, developed and improved medical outcome and greater cost productivity are the main benefits of effective transcultural and culturally competent care.
To provide effective transcultural care, nurses should have the required knowledge, skills, attitude, values and awareness in caring for people with different cultures. Nurses should understand the different cultures of the society they are caring for and develop awareness of ones own culture and ethnic identity to avoid biases, misunderstanding and prejudices to other culture (Royal College of Nursing, 2009).
For the purpose of this essay the author will critically discuss and evaluate Campinha-Bacote’s Model of Cultural Competence (2003) and focus on the application of the above-mentioned model in the process of nursing care.The Role of Transcultural Concept of Leininger In Nursing Essay

Diversity of the world’s population has reached a point where it is vital to address and more importantly to understand, the ever growing challenge that transcultural nursing poses to the nursing profession. Addressing this issue avoids discrimination and promotes equality within holistic nursing practice in order to meet patients’ needs. Health care professionals should be qualified to deliver, on a daily basis, proficient care and sensitive skilled communication to culturally different individuals (Maier-Lorentz, 2008).
To exercise professional nursing in a conceptual way holistic nursing care focuses on physical, emotional, social, environmental and spiritual aspects as well as on the idea that any individual involved
Transcultural Nursing Transcultural nursing may be defined as a method to contrast and observe how individuals view health care, biased by their culture background. The principles of practising transcultural nursing are to provide complete nursing care to individuals or groups by treating them with respect and taking into account their cultural factors. It is all about nursing practice applied to cultural values and limitations (Leininger, 1991). Definitions of transcultural nursing incorporate many factors that shape the individual’s cultural orientation. These include are age, sexual orientation and financial aspects. It has been suggested that by ignoring these culture background factors, health care professionals do not achieve enough cultural experience to be incorporated in holistic nursing practice (Barnes et al. 2000). This absence might lead to unsafe nursing care and both dissatisfied patients and professionals (Curren, 2006 cited in Leininger & McFarland, 2006, pp.159-160). To promote transcultural nursing care, Narayan (2001) felt that there are four crucial attitudes to assume – caring, empathy, openness and flexibility. This shows the patients a cultural understanding, appreciation, consideration and willingness from health care professionals that are based on individual care. The Role of Transcultural Concept of Leininger In Nursing Essay

Leininger’s Transcultural Theory
The practice of nursing in today’s multicultural societies calls for nurses to identify and meet the cultural needs of diverse groups of people; to understand the social and cultural reality of the client, family, and community; to develop expertise in the implementation of culturally acceptable strategies for the provision of nursing care, and to identify and use appropriate resources for health teaching that is acceptable to the client. Undeniably, this cultural diversity necessitates that the care provided be compatible with the needs of the culturally diverse population. Madeleine Leininger is recognized worldwide as the founder of transcultural nursing,…show more content…
The final assumption is the fact that nursing care that is culturally beneficial can only be provided when the nurse providing the care has knowledge of cultural care expressions, patterns, and values (Kardong-Edgreen & Campinha-Bacote, 2008). The concepts of Person, Environment, Health and Nursing Unlike other nursing theorists, Leininger did not put emphasis on basic concepts of person, environment, health, and nursing, which are usual nursing metaparadigms that most nursing theorists utilize. Leiningers theory instead, emphasized different metaparadigms. First, she considers nursing as both a discipline and a profession. The term ‘nursing’ according to her, cannot explain the phenomenon of nursing. Instead, ‘care’ has the greatest explanatory power to explain nursing. Leininger (1995) views ‘caring’ as the verb counterpart to the noun care and refers it to a feeling of compassion, interest and concern for people. When Leininger’s definition of care is compared to other transcultural scholars’ definitions, it appears that her view of care is wider than, for example, that of Orque et al. (1983), who depicted care as goal-oriented nursing activities, in which nurses recognize the patients’ ethnic and cultural features and integrate them into the nursing process as cited in (Giger, Davidhizar, Purnell, Harden, Phillips, & Strickland, 2007). Second, the nursing profession uses the term ‘person’ in a way that is limiting and binding The Role of Transcultural Concept of Leininger In Nursing Essay

Madeleine Leininger and the Transcultural Theory of Nursing
In a world of non-stop innovation and constant travel, the ability to
recognize and embrace cultural diversity is of utmost importance to all healthcare
providers today, but especially in the nurse’s scope of care. While most nursing
students’ education merely touches upon the importance of recognizing and
understanding diverse cultures, nurses inevitably come into very intimate contact
with people from all walks of life. Madeleine Leininger’s theory proves useful
early on in nursing education and has provided the author with insight that he
otherwise would have lacked in the clinical setting. Nurses are capable of being
models for embracing patients’ cultural needs in healthcare, and as a result, it is of
high priority that nursing professionals recognize and understand the
Transcultural Theory of nursing illustrated by Madeleine Leininger.
The Background and Essence of Transcultural Nursing
During the 1950s, Madeleine Leininger worked in a child guidance home
and while she recognized the importance of focusing on “care” early on, she was
also surprised to observe stark differences in child behavioral patterns based on
differing cultural backgrounds. The ideas sparked by her conclusion paved the
way for Leininger to expand nurses’ knowledge and understanding of diverse
cultures that were lacking in healthcare at this time. Her endeavor to enhance
patient care and well-being through a culturally competent nursing education
would later be coined as the “Transcultural Theory of Nursing” (Sitzman &
Eichelberger, 2004, p. 93).
Leininger’s theory helps to better define the expectations of the nursepatient relationship because ultimately the nurse is the one who implements care
and is at the patient’s side for the majority of his or her time receiving care.The Role of Transcultural Concept of Leininger In Nursing Essay
Leininger’s objective is for nurses to immerse themselves in cultural education
and to implement a style of care parallel to what the patient deems suitable
according to his or her cultural expectations. Doing so is a component of a nurse’s
plan of care using the nursing process. The nurse plans interventions that are
culturally congruent with the patient’s needs and evaluates the implementation,
judging whether or not the patient’s cultural needs are fully addressed. The
Transcultural Theory of Nursing has transformed caregivers previously less aware
of patient diversity and enhanced perceptions that could potentially be the
difference between a patient’s convalescence and decline.
Busher Betancourt: Madeleine Leininger and the Transcultural Theory of Nursing
Published by EngagedScholarship@CSU, 2016

The Globalization of Healthcare
In the past one hundred years, innovations in travel and healthcare have
resulted in new ways to approach patient well-being with respect to culture. At the
center of major healthcare advancement and a worldwide destination for worldclass care, the United States is at the forefront of globalized healthcare. Nurses in
particular have the opportunity to meet immigrants, refugees, and a plethora of
other patients of different cultural backgrounds, a concept not necessarily
regarded very frequently among caregivers (Leininger & McFarland, 2002, p. 3).
Madeleine Leininger’s (1978) theory of transcultural nursing embodies the basis
of this work:
If human beings are to survive and live in a healthy, peaceful and
meaningful world, then nurses and other health care providers need to
understand the cultural care beliefs, values and lifeways of people in order
to provide culturally congruent and beneficial health care. (p. 3)
The Benefits of Transculturalism
While Leininger’s ideals on nursing care revolve principally around the
patient, the nurse is also a beneficiary of this approach to treating patients. On a
global scale, nurses remain the largest proportion of caregivers, and by learning
about cultural strangers and helping patients with their particular lifeways and in
their environmental contexts (Leininger & McFarland, 2002, p. 4), nurses have
the opportunity to stand out as the most culturally-understanding and
demographically-sensitive group of healthcare providers.
For some nurses, however, the transcultural theory of nursing is not highly
regarded. Some providers lack exposure to the art of understanding peoples’
specific principles, beliefs, and caring patterns, which in turn affects quality of
care. When patient’s quality of care is in question, the nurse’s role as a caregiver
is jeopardized, for his profession is “essential to curing and healing, for there can
be no curing without caring” (Leininger, 2001, p. 45).
Examples of Discrepancies in Cross-Cultural Care
Due to varying education, environments, and experiences, some healthcare The Role of Transcultural Concept of Leininger In Nursing Essay
professionals are not as readily prepared to handle differences in patient
backgrounds. Examples of such discrepancies have been illustrated by Leininger,
where providers lack full understanding of patient needs and find the experiences
peculiar when in fact a transcultural provider would both comprehend and
accommodate such variances in care requested.
A familiar example of the lack of transcultural understanding in a
healthcare setting is seen of a Mexican-American woman late to her appointment.
The Downtown Review, Vol. 2 [2016], Iss. 1, Art. 1

The patient explained her situation: lack of transportation, child care, and
directions. However, the hospital staff did not understand the woman’s hardship
and did not accommodate the patient. Consequently, the highly upset patient
sought a local healer instead of pursuing mainstream healthcare (Leininger, 2001,
p. 64).
In another scenario incorporating non-Western thinking is of a deceased
Vietnamese child, whose entire extended family accompanied him at the
emergency department and covered his head with a white sheet. The family’s
actions confused nurses and doctors, especially with the number of mourning
family members present, making providers feel uncomfortable. The transcultural
nurse would have realized that the scenario was a spiritual tradition performed by
the Vietnamese in times of family misfortune (Leininger, 2001, p. 63).
Finally, in another non-Western scenario, a Chinese man was told to drink
cold water without alternative beverages being offered. He refused it and was then
told if he did not drink the water that he would require intravenous fluids. The
patient’s daughter subsequently needed to explain to the staff that her father
preferred hot tea as an alternative (Leininger, 2001, p. 63). A transcultural


provider would have attempted to communicate with the patient, accommodating
his preferences instead of threatening him or becoming frustrated with the
These three scenarios demonstrate the idea that all nurses have the ability
to withhold preconceived notions of patients characterized by ignorance of the
cultural needs, which is as damaging as providing deliberately poor care. It may
seem easier to ignore the specific needs of these patients, but providing a
resistance to such a stressor is integral to their care. By having an open mind to
the diverse needs of patients, nurses can achieve higher patient satisfaction and
appropriate treatment per individual patients’ needs. Nursing heavily relies on
caring for the patient, and sensitivity through transcultural nursing is exemplified
by such.
Applying Transculturalism to Nursing Care
In a 1996 interview on “Essential[s] for Excellence [in Nursing Care],”
Leininger provides insight into identifying and executing excellent care that can
be assumed by nurses, who do not necessarily need to travel to foreign countries
in order gain an adequate grasp on care across cultures (“Nursing,” 1996).
Initially, the nurse must listen to the patient, assess his or her beliefs and values,
and implement care decisions that make a point of avoiding offensive practices
(“Nursing,” 1996). The patient may require special requests outside the expected
spectrum of nursing care, and therefore, communication and accommodation are
key to becoming a nurse characterized by transculturalism.
Busher Betancourt: Madeleine Leininger and the Transcultural Theory of Nursing
Published by EngagedScholarship@CSU, 2016

Through experience over time caring for patients of diverse backgrounds,
the nurse will gain a sense of cultural competence. However, treating all patients
as if they belong into one “culturally-alike box” has potential to actually harm
patients (“Nursing,” 1996). By remaining insensitive to these differences, the
nurse will lose the opportunity to achieve the best results possible in the interest
of the patient, even if such consequences are emotional and not physical. If there
is a situation in which a stressor in the patient’s environment can be avoided, then
the nurse must make an effort ensure the alleviation of this stress in a culturallysensitive manner.
In the likely event that perhaps the inexperienced nurse lacks sufficient
culturally-specific knowledge, he or she must treat each patient with a sense of
“open-mindedness” and possess the drive to care about the impact on the patient The Role of Transcultural Concept of Leininger In Nursing Essay
(“Nursing,” 1996), even though the situation may pose cultural challenges to the
nurse. Through thorough communication, the nurse has the opportunity to gain
insight from the patient on his or her background; after some time, the nurse will
gain the ability to appreciate different cultures and apply past learning
experiences to future patient care.
Instances of Cultural Impacts in Nursing Care
Grouping certain cultures together could be the case when caring for East
Asian cultures. Although the nurse may encounter many patients of Eastern Asian
descent in his or her practice, these people wish to be treated according to their
own standards of care and do not like to be generalized with other Asian cultures.
Doing so could discourage the patient from seeking healthcare.
Another example is the nursing technique of “palpation,” or touch. While
considered ordinary in Western cultures, this may not be the case for members of
non-Western cultures. Some religions do not permit cross-gender contact while
others do not allow certain areas of the body to be touched altogether, such as
below the waist in the case of gypsies (“Nursing,” 1996). As a result, nurses must
take steps to communicate with their patients to determine what is expected and
maintain a high level of professionalism throughout the interaction.
Finally, perspectives on death and dying vary greatly across cultures as
well. Nurses prepared in transculturalism would realize that explaining to an Arab
Muslim’s family that he or she will die of a terminal cancer is not appropriate
because in Islam, Allah decides the fate of the individual, not a disease process
(“Nursing,” 1996). Doing so would discredit the religious beliefs of the patient
and family, in which case the nurse does not intervene.
By choosing to educate oneself in the scope of diverse cultural care, the
nurse is also choosing to better care for his or her patients in the long-term. If
The Downtown Review, Vol. 2 [2016], Iss. 1, Art. 1

ignored, the nurse is weakening the potential for positive outcomes on patients,
which in turn creates dissatisfied people and irresponsible caregivers.
The Future of Transcultural Nursing
In the coming years, the demographics of the United States will continue
to change with the continuous influx of diverse cultures. Transcultural nursing
remains and will continue to be a topic not simply discussed but also one that will
become an area of much-needed expertise for those who seek professional success
in nursing. Every hospital in the United States provides care to people of diverse
values and beliefs, so education on transcultural nursing and maintenance of
unbiased attitudes as a nurse are crucial.
Reflection on Leininger’s Theory
The examples and findings of Madeleine Leininger’s Theory of
Transcultural Nursing have provided the author, an undergraduate nursing
student, with the importance of making every effort in the realm of patient care to
accommodate the diversity that he will imminently see in his career. Leininger’s
teachings are especially important to the author, who holds interest in the crosscultural thinking required of providing nursing care.
Being of mixed Hispanic descent, the author realizes that the scenarios
aforementioned in the essay are realistic and still take place in today’s healthcare
environment due to factors such as ignorance or lack of education concerning
cultural competence. As a result, the author has been inspired to continue his
research on Madeleine Leininger’s ideas in order to heighten his own command of
congruency in care of patients with diverse ideals, values, and beliefs.
For example, the author lives in a community populated densely by Puerto
Rican-Americans as well as other cultures distinct from the mainstream United
States. Being raised in a converged world, so to speak, and having studied
Madeleine Leininger’s theory, the author seeks to enact Leininger’s approach to
nursing practice and to promote its importance among fellow students, faculty,
and patients alike in order to provide care that suits the individual, not just a
group. The author is thankful for Leininger’s contribution to nursing theory and
hopes to garner the expertise of transculturalism, which she so well exemplified,
in his future practice.
To put the significance of culturally competent nursing into perspective,
the author is able to demonstrate the thinking behind transculturalism in nursing
with his clinical education. Being a student at the Cleveland Clinic, the author has
had the opportunity to provide care to patients of non-Western backgrounds. What
he seeks to accentuate with each patient encounter is a level of compassion and
Busher Betancourt: Madeleine Leininger and the Transcultural  The Role of Transcultural Concept of Leininger In Nursing Essay

understanding for those patients not necessarily acclimated to Western culture and
nursing. Doing so elevates patient satisfaction and trust, leaving them more apt to
seek healthcare in the future. Having gained this clinical experience, the author
has begun to garner a heightened sense of cultural awareness. Before entering a
patient’s room, for example, he takes a moment to review the patient’s chart for
indications of distinct cultural needs. Doing so allows the author to steer his
method of care to best suit the patient’s beliefs and lifestyle.
The results of being a culturally competent nursing student are already
evident. When respect is shown for the specific needs of the patient, the nurse
eliminates unnecessary stressors from the patient during his or her stay. Realizing
this as a nursing student early on can provide rewarding experiences for the nurse
and patient alike. As the difficulty of nursing school becomes more apparent, the
author’s sense of cultural competence will not be compromised.
The author realizes that those who exhibit cultural incompetence do not fit
into the caring realm of nursing. When one delivers mediocre care to others across
any setting, the results can be poor. If a nurse were to ignore cultural cues, then
the patient’s convalescence or even desire to seek care is at risk. It is therefore the
nurse’s duty to promote positive outlooks on patient care through their
compassion in the lens of transculturalism.
Madeline Leininger’s Theory of Transcultural Nursing, one that depends
on the communication and care exhibited by the nurse, actively incorporates the
patient’s values, beliefs, and background into every step of the nursing process. In
instances where the nurse has the chance to make a patient more comfortable
according to his or her perceived style of care, the nurse must professionally and
effectively pursue this environment on behalf of the patient and make every
attempt to understand the motives behind the his or her wishes, free from
Just as the author considers these factors before even entering the room of
a patient, nurses throughout the entire country should take steps towards cultural
competence, a trait that will enhance nursing care in a constantly changing
country. As a result, transcultural nursing as defined by Madeleine Leininger is
the key to unlocking cultural competence in a healthcare setting for a nation with
such a rich historical past and a culturally diverse future. The Role of Transcultural Concept of Leininger In Nursing Essay

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