An upsurge in the numbers of aging populations has resulted in an increase in diversity in terms of identity, color, culture, and socioeconomic status. Therefore, the need for culturally competent professionals and facilities that cater to older adults from different backgrounds cannot be understated (Cummings & Galambos, 2016). Aging increases susceptibility to health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and renal failure, among others. Therefore, nurses should hone their cultural competency to care for these patients. This paper discusses a case involving a patient with unique views of health and healing and describes how the required interventions were modified to meet the patient’s needs.
An Example of Nurse-Patient Situation
The nurse-patient scenario involved an African male patient aged 68 years who was a retired expatriate from Nigeria. The patient had come to the hospital for his annual wellness visit. He had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and hypertension about 9 years ago. He was taking extended-release metformin and lisinopril for the management of diabetes and hypertension, respectively. Routine testing showed that his hemoglobin A1c level was 7.8%, which was higher than the expected maximum of 6.5%.
The patient and nurse discussed pertinent factors in his daily activities, which had influenced the current situation. It was evident that the patient believed in African Traditional Medicine. He was certain that healing constituted a multiplex religious endeavor by Africans to harmonize the spiritual and physical components of the universe in addition to the people who inhabited it (Ajima & Ubana, 2018). The patient also assumed that traditional medicine for diabetes was more efficient and affordable than conventional medicine. He only took the drugs because he could not access the traditional medications at his current residence. Therefore, he did not comply with the prescription instructions and sometimes forgot to take his medications.
Modification of Nursing Care in Interventions
The interventions administered by the nurse included an adjustment of the patient’s metformin dose and counseling to modify the patient’s attitude towards his medications. The dosage was adjusted from 500 mg to 1000 mg per day. The patient was advised to take his medications as prescribed and eat foods with low glycemic indices. He was informed about the importance of exercise and dietary modifications in the management of type 2 diabetes. Consequently, he was asked to engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise at least three times a week.
While educating the patient, the nurse needed to clarify the misconception that conventional medications for diabetes are ineffective. The nurse informed him that metformin is a derivative of a plant known as Galega officinalis, which has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels (Aroda & Ratner, 2018). The nurse admitted that they were unaware of the specific plant from which the patient’s traditional drug came, but there was a probability that it was Galega officinalis. The patient was surprised to learn that metformin was developed from a plant because he had assumed that it was made from synthetic chemicals. Therefore, the patient changed his attitude regarding the efficacy of metformin and resolved to adhere to treatment. This way, patient education was modified to accommodate the patient’s ethnic and cultural views of the management of diabetes.
Patients’ behaviors are partly influenced by their cultural backgrounds and beliefs. Nonetheless, even though some characteristics and attitudes are linked to specific cultural groups, not all people from that community subscribe to similar beliefs. Therefore, health care providers should desist from stereotyping by regarding each patient as a unique individual and finding out their cultural preferences. In the above scenario, a brief discussion enabled the nurse to identify the patient’s views on health and wellness. Consequently, nursing care was modified to include the client’s opinions and change their attitude toward treatment without disregarding their beliefs.
- Ajima, O. G., & Ubana, E. U. (2018). The concept of health and wholeness in Traditional African Religion and social medicine. Arts and Social Sciences Journal, 9(4), 1-5.
- Aroda, V. R. & Ratner, R. E. (2018). Metformin and type 2 diabetes prevention. Diabetes Spectrum, 31(4), 336-342. Web.
- Cummings, S. M., & Galambos, C. (2016). Diversity and aging in the social environment. Routledge.