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The Hispanic population in the United States is rapidly growing, particularly in California. Hispanics are the most numerous minority group requiring particular attention. When compared to other health professionals, nurses have the most direct patient involvement with the Hispanic population. As a result, they should take advantage of this chance to give culturally competent treatment to patients. Similarly, nurses should make an effort to satisfy the needs of the Spanish community, such as providing appropriate language education, reducing transportation and economic barriers, and expanding access to excellent healthcare services in Hispanic communities. However, achieving the mentioned efforts demands identifying and overwhelming obstacles such as insufficient finances, language barriers and immigration status that thwarts equitable access to healthcare. Moreover, culturally competent Nursing is increasingly becoming the heart of concentration by the government and healthcare entities as it is the foundation of quality nursing care of the minority group. Hence, it is crucial for the nursing specialists to take the mandate of refining the healthcare procedures.
Cultural competence can be referred to the collection of harmonious behavior, attitudes and policies that are combined in a system, organization or among professionals which facilitates effective work in the cross-cultural situations (U.S.DHHS, 2014). On the other hand, culture simply refers to incorporated patterns of peoples’ behavior, for example, perception, language, values, customs, and gatherings including social group. Whereas, cultural care can be defined as the subjectively and objectively learned and shared values, lifestyle, and beliefs that provide support, assistance in enhancing health and well-being of other people as well as their general condition (U.S.DHHS, 2014).
Hispanic community makes up the largest population in the United States. The population is estimated to be 51 million across the United States, California State comprising of the largest population of Hispanic at 38% roughly 14 million Hispanic people. Therefore, giving culturally competent care to Hispanic population is critical in order to enhance patient access, use and knowledge of healthcare resources which can only be guaranteed through equal and passionate engagement of the government, nurses, health practitioners and the society (Askim-Lovseth and Aldana, 2010). A deeper understanding of Hispanic community is significant to obtaining comprehension into their healthcare requirements and their usage of healthcare amenities. Having an explicit knowledge of the factors such as the educational, cultural, political, socio-economic and legal environment of the Hispanic community residing in the United States will assist in expounding on the barriers that prevent Hispanic population from accessing and using health care services. The following factors hinder the Hispanic community from receiving equitable healthcare services:
Disparities in insurance coverage
Hispanics possess the highest population of uninsured children making up 19% compared to the white population of uninsured children which is 6%. In addition, the total uninsured population of the Hispanic across the United States stands at 32% which is approximately 15 million uninsured Hispanics. The high rate of uninsured Hispanics is contributed by the low income they earn compared to the Non-Hispanic white community. It is estimated that the average white individuals earn fifty-four thousand dollars per year for a full-time worker compared to the Hispanic individual who receives an estimated forty thousand dollars per year for a full-time worker (Askim-Lovseth and Aldana, 2010). It is argued that the disparity in income earning is contributed by the low levels of education among the Hispanic community whereby the level of education determines the salary bracket of an individual which has resulted to poor pay among the Hispanics community.
Social and economic inequality
The expense incurred in accessing the medical services bars the Hispanic community from utilizing better healthcare services due to their low income. The introduction and increment of fees to access medical services decreased the utilization of the health services drastically. Similarly, the highest number of patients suffering from cardiovascular illness, diabetes, and cancer is recorded from the Hispanic community. This is due to high cost applied for treating this ailment including the cost of purchasing medicines and patient therapies which is very expensive, and the low income they earn cannot afford to pay to receive treatment of this diseases (Lagarde and Palmer, 2011).
The Hispanic population has no fluency in English, most of their phrases are broken and hard to understand. Thus, information can be misinterpreted by the health practitioners and Nurses. According to Askim-Lovseth and Aldana (2010), opinions from the Hispanic community concerning how well they were attended is always negative. The negative feedback is due to their narrations that the Nurses pay little attention and don’t give them time to explain their problems. Also, the authors support that the Hispanic community wished to have belonged to a different race to be treated with respect since they are not accorded that due to inability to speak fluent English. Moreover, the use of friends, forms of language assistance and nurses who understand few words in Hispanic hinders the correct conveyance of information, thus, inadequate patient care, administration, and prescription of medication that is wrong resulting to more damage, injury or death of the patient.
Application of the Nursing Process to Deliver Culturally Competent Care
Overcoming the barriers that deter the Hispanic community from accessing and utilizing quality healthcare services can be a burden, but the following nursing process can help the Nurses to deliver a culturally competent care to Hispanic population:
Nurses to acknowledge their own ethnic and biomedical opinions, standards and practices.
This will help the Nurses to recognize and appreciate other people’s culture which in this case is Hispanic culture. Varied population conveys classified beliefs in several cultural groups, therefore, delivering culturally competent care comes with important advantages such as enhanced patient communication, reduction in stress to both the patient and health practitioner, increased trustworthy among the patients to their health practitioners and improved compliance with care (Lagarde and Palmer, 2011). Additionally, Nurses need to develop a positive attitude and flexible to patients’ culture as well as embracing other peoples culture through the performance of cultural assessment to all patients inclusive of the minority community.
Embracing social justice when attending to patients.
Social justice refers to the acknowledgment that each person is designated to equal and fair rights, and the person is free to engage in educational, social and health opportunities that come along. The twelve pillar of the social justice includes knowledge of cultures, patient advocacy, evidence-based practice, education, communication, leadership, policy development, culturally competent practice, multicultural workforce, critical self-reflection, promotion of social justice and competence in the healthcare system (Douglas et al., 2011). Therefore, demonstrating social justice will enable the nurses to provide fair treatment and attendance to all their patients regardless of their social class, culture, citizenship and sexual orientation. Furthermore, embracing social justice will develop respect for health beliefs, procedures and language needs of the Hispanic population resulting in positive health impacts.
The use of Nurse practitioners to bring together the diverse Hispanic community.
Dealing with different communities having different cultures pose a great barrier to delivery of quality and accessible healthcare. However, the utilization of nurse practitioners will help overcome the problem since, nurse practitioners can interact, spend time, listen to the patient’s issues and formulate a plan on how to assist the patients in comparison to their immediate Doctors and other health professionals (Maleliano and Street, 2012). Hence, nurse practitioners can easily share common opinions on cultural competence through working with Hispanic people daily thereby developing a connection through advocacy, motivation and resolving the main cause of the issue while attending to culturally diverse patients.
Push for reforms in insurance coverage for the minority group.
To help reduce the gap in the provision of healthcare between the minority and majority population, the Affordable Care Act should demand that local health programs gather information on racial, ethnic and language and report to the United States secretary. Whereby the United States Department of Health and Human Services can use the information to help curb disparities evidenced in health sector among the minority group (U.S DHHS, 2014). Therefore, the Hispanic community being part of the minority group can be able to enjoy full benefits of insurance coverage that other majority population access and utilize.
Askim-Lovseth, M. K., & Aldana, A. (2010). Looking beyond “affordable” health care: Cultural understanding and sensitivity—Necessities in addressing the health care disparities of the US Hispanic population. Health marketing quarterly, 27(4), 354-387.
Douglas, M., Pierce, J., Rosenkoetter, M., Pacquiano, D., Callister, L., Hattar-Pollar,
M., ...Purnell, L. (2011).Standards of practice for culturally competent nursing care: 2011 update. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 22(4), 317-333. doi:10.1177/1043659611412965
Lagarde, M., & Palmer, N. (2011). The impact of user fees on access to health services in low‐and middle‐income countries. The Cochrane Library.
Matteliano, M. A., & Street, D. (2012). Nurse practitioners’ contributions to cultural competence in primary care settings. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 24(7), 425-435.
U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health (2014). Think cultural health: National CLAS standards.
Retrieved from https://www.thinkculturalhealth.hhs.gov/concent/clas/asp
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