Transcultural Nursing Theory

In the era of globalization, cultural and ethical differences become apparent in nursing practice. New cultural requires medical staff to adjust their strategic thinking and adapt to rapid cultural changes. Medical staff can only perform effectively through interactions with the broader external environment of which it is part. In this case, transcultural care and universality of nursing principles is one of the major requirements in this profession.

Transcultural Nursing Theory is chosen for analysis because the structure and function-ing of modern healthcare must reflect the nature of the environment in which it is operating (Leininger, 2001).

The growing need of its practical application can be explained by the fact that managing cultural diversity results in team effectiveness which depends upon different strategies including a spirit of unity and co-operation, which can be achieved through leveling of cultural differences.

Also, recognizing that nurses present different cultures at work, as well as different ethnic groups, and that this diversity needs to be managed, is key to promoting a positive environment of equal opportunity, which goes beyond merely fulfilling the demands of the statutory codes.

On the other hand, if medical staff and patients behave in different ways, they often fail to understand each other and experience ‘culture clash’.

The major concepts of Transcultural Nursing Theory include: (1) care which is the essence of nursing; (2) culturally based care – essential for well-being; (3) culturally based care as a holistic approach; (4) culturally based care s curing and healing, (5) culture care concepts (commonalities and universalities) (Leininger, n.d). In order to help ensure survival and future success the healthcare it must be readily adaptable to the external demands placed upon it using appropriate structure and support of its HR management team.

In this case, nurses must be responsive to multicultural environment and its demands. According to this theory, proper attention should be given to the personnel function of a nurse which helps to improve the efficiency of the medical practices and the level of multicultural and transcultural communication between nurses and patients.

Leininger (2001) underlines that the lack of trantcultural education and training programs for nurses may have a negative impact on healthcare and nurse-patient interaction. Also, she states that “Today, nurses are becoming sensitive to and knowledgeable about cultural differences and similarities in people’s care” (Leininger, n.d.). The understanding of cultural behaviors and good manners in each country is also a very important sphere of cultural practices. The nurse is a leader who has a great influence on patients through her image, personal values and ability to motivate and understand people.

The main benefit if this theory is that good communication skills of the nurse will result in an open and friendly atmosphere in the healthcare center. If the nurse has limited cultural skills, the staff relations will be restraint and emotionally limited. The staff can exercise self-direction and control to achieve objectives to which they are committed, if they are persuaded by the effective communication and professional skills. Also, the Transcultural Nursing Theory can help to analyze various approaches to nursing leadership and communication. Under proper conditions nursing staff can learn to accept and seek responsibility to follow culturally accepted style of management and personal characteristics. In this case, international staffing and development helps to organise HR in accordance with the needs of the healthcare centre (Leininger, McFarland, 2002).

The Transcultural Nursing Theory can be introduced into practice through training initiatives and special programs for nurses. A particular and increasingly popular approach to courses is through action learning. Typically, this involves a small self-selecting team undertaking a practical, real-life project. The emphasis is on learning by doing with advice and support from tutors and other course members.

One of the most basic dilemmas faced by designers of courses and by trainers is the balance between nursing theory and practice; between what may be considered as theoretically desirable and what participants perceive as practically possible to implement (Fawcett, 2002). It is also important to achieve an appropriate balance between the assimilation of knowledge information and the development of skills in order to do something. In the process of investing in human capital there are certain skills that need to be developed and new competences to be acquired. It should be a team effort between the individual and his or her mentor, coach and colleagues to identify and action such development.

Managers should take into account such problems as resistance to change and negative attitudes towards learning. They tend to respond to situations in an established and accus-tomed manner. Habits serve for them as a means of comfort and security, and as a guide for easy decision making. Proposed changes to habits, especially if the habits are well established and require little effort, may be resisted. It will be important to introduce effective communication patterns and motivational practices to overcome resistance to change. The solution is to ensure that there is a shared understanding of these differences, and deliberate action to make choices in a way that enables all cultures to work in the most effective manner.

In sum, Transcultural Nursing Theory should be a core modern nursing practices and initiatives reflecting social and cultural changes of global environment. The focus becomes changing the culture so that all are valued for their diversity and different contributions, and the approach is more integrated as special and separate groups are not singled out. This theory will help to mobilize nursing staff and create positive environment in healthcare centers. These competences should be based on workforce diversity policies and help to create healthy organizational atmosphere which has a great impact on nurse-patient communication.

1. Leininger, M. (n.d.). Culture Care Theory: A Major Contribution to Advance Transcultural Nursing Knowledge and Practices. Retrieved from
2. Fawcett, J. (2002). The Nurse Theorists: 21st-Century Updates—Madeleine M. Leininger. Nursing Science Quarterly, 15 (2): 131-136.
3. Leininger, M. (2001). Culture Care Diversity and Universality: A Theory of Nursing. Jones & Bartlett Publishers; Reissue edn.
4. Leininger, M. M., & McFarland, M. (2002). Transcultural nursing: Concepts, theories, research, and practices. 3rd edn. McGraw-Hill.

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