That is an excellent point, Amy.
We often jump to conclusions based on our own cultural beliefs and
customs. It is critical that we not only
be culturally competent to the patients culture but do not push our own onto
them in our assessments of the situations (Salman, Lee,
Cooksey-James (2014). I had a case where a mother of an infant, who had heart
defects repaired one month prior to the ED visit, came in to the hospital in
critical condition. This infant coded in
our ED but was resuscitated. The mother
chose not to fly immediately with her child to the valley (3 hours away). Instead, she went back out to the reservation
to a ceremony by the medicine man for her infant and planned on going to the
valley after the ceremony. Several
members of my staff were deeply troubled by this. They could not comprehend the
mother not flying with her infant. We
met and debriefed about cultural awareness in order to help the nursing staff
with their feelings about this situation. We explained to them that culturally
the mother felt she could help her child more by attending the ceremony that
being at the bedside at that moment. There
were continued mixed feelings about this case after the debriefing but the staff
did come away with a new awareness of the culture of the Navajo people.
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