The Healthcare Beliefs of People of Russian Heritage, Polish Heritage, and Thai Heritage


Healthcare delivery is an activity, which is currently conducted on a global scale and involves every nation in the process of health promotion. The representatives of various cultural groups usually have different views and opinions concerning health, and their methods of disease prevention often vary in approaches. The three communities this research deals with possessing both similarities and differences in beliefs regarding health and medicine. The cultural knowledge that their customs carry provides influence on the people’s view of the entire healthcare system and their relation to the evidence-based practice in particular.

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Views Regarding Diseases and Customs to Deal with Those

The fact that the Russian healthcare system is subject to massive criticism provides an exhaustive explanation as to why people of this ethnic group treat clinicians and medical facilities with undisguised skepticism. Many patients view sound health as a matter of extensive money investment, which is inaccessible to the majority of them. The representatives of this group tend to believe that disease in the form of suffering that, a priori, has low chances to be cured due to insufficient competence of doctors (Saks, 2015). Therefore, families always try to care for their ill members by themselves. The customs, in this case, may include bringing nutritious home-cooked meals, referring to folk remedies, wearing appropriate clothing, and more.

By analogy with Russians, Polish citizens have been witnessing a poor performance of the country’s healthcare system for more than seven decades. They currently represent the fastest-aging society of the EU. Piatkowski and Majchrowska (2015) point out that “for centuries the greatest skill and competence in matters of illness was attributed to women, especially mothers and grandmothers” (p. 216). The given customs are inherent in all who live in rural areas. In fact, people belonging to this social layer represent the ethnic majority. They usually have neither the certificate of higher education nor the position at a large company with high wages; their beliefs and attitudes towards health and diseases are much similar to those of Russian patients.

Regarding the Thai patients and their beliefs, people belonging to Asian cultures are more accustomed to exercising distinct health practices. They view health as a balance between the physical, mental, and supernatural environments (Ti et al., 2017). A disease is not treated as either a physical or a spiritual, but as the combination of the two since all organs are connected and perform both functions simultaneously. As to the treatment methods, the established traditions and customs force Thai people to refer to such techniques as herbal medicine, acupuncture, and cupping. All of them were successfully borrowed by the people of Russia and Poland.

Culture-Specific Opinions About Death and the Deceased

Russians’ funeral rites are, to a greater extent, conditioned by the orthodox religion to which they belong. The eyes of the deceased are closed; relatives may want to bathe and dress a body before laying it out inside a coffin. The body is accompanied until it is buried. These ritual traditions are very similar to those kept in Poland, with the only difference that Polish funeral ceremonies are influenced by the Roman-Catholic church (Piatkowski & Majchrowska, 2015). The ceremony is always held by a priest, even if a deceased person was never religious. Mourning is the only way to express emotions during the burying procedure, which is a common tradition for both cultures.

In Thailand, however, a funeral procedure is viewed as the passage from one form of existence to another. Bodies are cremated according to a Buddhist ritual. The following two days are spent at gambling, barbeques, and other entertaining activities. No sadness or mourning is ever tracked among family members. Such an approach to a ritual makes a harsh contrast to the traditions and perception of a ceremony in Russia and Poland.

The Influence of Healthcare Beliefs on the Delivery of Evidence-Based Practice

The socio-cultural heritage of Russia makes people of this ethnic group accustomed to curing diseases by their efforts. Because the patients of this cohort demonstrate a tendency to take control over their health and the process of treatment, many evidence-based practitioners have concluded that giving biomedical advice to them is counterproductive (Saks, 2015). Thus, clinicians are forced to take a different approach to healthcare delivery when working with Russian immigrants.

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The experience of work with Polish patients shows that people of this particular group are more disposed to receiving full-fledged medical care compared to Russians. Nevertheless, the vast majority of them are inclined to differentiate between the doctors’ and nurses’ roles in the matters of care delivery (Piatkowski & Majchrowska, 2015). With regards to this fact, doctors are often forced to exclude nurses from evidence-based decision-making to meet patients’ expectations.

Thai people usually apply Buddhist teaching to deal with diseases. The ongoing observations of the spiritual techniques of disease treatment have indicated that strong and well-based spirituality profoundly influences one’s well-being (Ti et al., 2017). The given outcomes have helped clinicians to provide a linkage between health behavior and spiritual constituents. Considering this matter, nurses are encouraged to use a holistic approach in the treatment of patients of all cultures and nationalities.


The cultures of Russia, Poland, and Thailand have both similarities and differences in what refers to healthcare beliefs and disease treatment. The mentioned beliefs not only touch upon the life processes but also relate to the perception of death as well. Some of the cultural customs provide a direct influence on the implementation of evidence-based practice among medical workers. The mentioned changes in healthcare delivery are primarily conditioned by the need to meet patients’ expectations.


Piatkowski, W., & Majchrowska, A. (2015). Health, illness and dying in Polish folk medicine. Progress in Health Sciences, 5(1), 214-224.

Saks, M. (2015). The professions, state and the market: Medicine in Britain, the United States and Russia. London, UK: Routledge.

Ti, L., Hayashi, K., Ti, L., Kaplan, K., Suwannawong, P., & Kerr, T. (2017). Knowledge translation to advance evidence-based health policy in Thailand. Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, 13(4), 723-731.

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