LaGuardia Community College
Registered Nursing Program
Global Learning Assignment
The racial and ethnic make-up of the United States has changed significantly during the past few
years and according to the United States Census Bureau, it is projected to become even more
diverse in the coming decade. People usually migrate here for a better way of life, even though
the move comes with its own challenges like social adjustment and economic assimilation.
Ethnic groups who settle here from other countries bring common cultural characteristics
including history, specific beliefs, values, food and entertainment preferences, behaviors,
religion and language. They come with their own set of beliefs about health and wellness.
All cultures have health beliefs to explain what causes illness, how to treat or cure an illness and
who is involved in the process. Western or traditional medicine as practiced in the United States
is described as “A system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals (such as
nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or
surgery.” This definition could differ significantly depending on the person’s cultural identity.
Although it is impossible to know everything about every culture, it is our responsibility as
health care providers to provide culturally competent health care. Health care delivery is no
longer a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Cultural competency in health care is essential, and lack of,
will cause barriers to care that could result in poor patient outcomes. Cultural competency has to
begin with acknowledging the importance of culture and describes the ability of systems to
provide care to patients with diverse values, beliefs and behaviors. This includes the tailoring of
health care delivery to meet patients’ social, cultural and linguistic needs.
As you begin your practice as a Registered Nurse caring for people from other parts of the world,
you may encounter patients or family members whose opinions, values and beliefs may not
reflect your own. You will care for people and/or family members who may speak another
language, use a different tone of voice or use unfamiliar body language when communicating
with you. The attitudes about health and the health care decisions made by people of other
cultures, the diets they follow and family dynamics may stir up emotions you are not comfortable
with. It is important to remain non-judgmental when given information that reflects values that
differ from your own.
While it is difficult to fully identify with or understand another’s customs completely, we need to
respect everyone’s values and beliefs. Lack of cultural sensitivity is often a barrier to effective
communication that can trickle down to patients and their families. Cultural insensitivity can
also adversely affect patient assessment, teaching and outcomes. We need to learn about these
cultures so that we can help people of different cultures to feel comfortable with us.
Write a 6 page paper using APA format. The 6 pages are in addition to, and not including cover,
abstract and reference page. As always, it should be double spaced using Times Roman 12 font
and follow APA guidelines for citations.
Your assignment is to interview two people with cultures other than your own who each came to
the USA from another country. If you are also from a country other than the USA, do not assess
someone from your homeland). Be sure to ask each person the exact same questions. If you were
born outside the USA please do not interview someone from your homeland. Data that is
collected from a cultural assessment will help the members of the health care team to provide the
patient and their family members’ culturally responsive treatment plan. By employing curiosity,
empathy, respect, and humility you can gain useful information about the patient’s individual
beliefs and preferences.
Begin your paper by introducing the people (families) you interviewed and their demographics.
There are examples of questions listed below. You do not have to use all of the questions or
categories. Complying with HIPPA standards, please identify the people you interviewed using
their initials only. After you complete the two Ethnic / Cultural Assessments, compare and
analyze the information you collected. Write about the similarities and differences in the
cultures and note patterns, if any, that you recognized while analyzing your data.
As a LaGuardia Community College nursing student, through your didactic and clinical
education, you have learned to provide care for patients from different races, cultures and
religions. Now consider if each of the two people you interviewed were diagnosed with the same
illness or condition (ex: hypertension (HTN), diabetes mellitus (DM) or another of your choice).
How would the cultural differences affect how your patient is able to understand, manage and
cope with a diagnosis and the consequences of the medical treatment? How would your
approach to education change to meet their cultural needs (diet, exercise, stress management
In conclusion, write a reflective paragraph about performing the Ethnic / Cultural Assessment?
Did you learn something new about yourself while doing the interview? Did any of the
questions/ answers make you uncomfortable?
Did this experience give you more insight into what you will be able do as a nurse to help your
patient feel more comfortable in a foreign setting?
Here are some questions you may want to consider when performing your Ethnic /
Cultural Assessment, or you can develop your own questions.
Demographics and background
What country were you born in?
How old were you when you came to live in the United States?
Did you come to the USA by yourself or with others?
How many years have you lived in the United States since you arrived?
What languages do you speak?
When interacting with friends and family who share your cultural background, do you
speak English or the language of your homeland?
Culture – Questions you might ask the person you are interviewing
How different is your native culture from the American culture?
What roles do your family members play in your health care decisions?
Who are the decision makers in your family?
Health and Wellness – Questions you might ask the person you are interviewing
How does your culture define health and illness?
How do you maintain your health?
Do you or your family members continue to follow the health practices of your native
What health practices do you follow to stay healthy?
How do the health practices within your family differ from traditional American health
Are there illnesses or diseases that are common among people that share your
Nutrition – Questions you might ask the person you are interviewing
Does your typical daily diet follow that of your homeland?
How has your diet changed since coming to the USA?
Religion – Questions you might ask the person you are interviewing
What religion do you follow?
Does religion in your culture influence your health care decisions?
Do you take responsibility for illness or do you believe karma causes disease or that it is
a punishment from God?
What do you do to alleviate stress?
American Health Care System – Questions you might ask the person you are interviewing
How does the American Health Care system differ from that in your native country?
If you get sick, do you seek medical attention immediately or attempt to cure the illness
or symptom with folk medicine or a home remedy?
If you or a family member were hospitalized, what would you expect from the health care
team and health care system?
If I was the nurse caring for you or one of your family members, what information could
you give me to provide culturally competent care