Cultural Analysis Of Jamaican Culture And Its Impact On Nursing

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For this paper I interviewed my neighbor who is a 66 year old female. She was born and raised in Montegobay, Jamaica. She moved to the United States at the age of 58 with her son. Her son was offered an opportunity to work for Apple as a software engineer. She had to move out with her son because he is the one that has been taking take of her ever since her husband passed away. The interview took about an hour and 30 minutes. It took a little longer than usual since she spoke broken English and it was hard to understand. The interview took place at a Panera bread. I decided to treat her out to lunch for taking out the time to answer my questions for the interview. I believe this was an appropriate way to show my appreciation for helping me with this project. I chose to write about this culture because it is unique and different from my own culture. While I was interviewing her, I recognized a few health risks she might face because of her lifestyle and the cultural norms she follows.

Cultural food

The Jamaican culture is known for ackee which is a common breakfast for all. It is a fruit that is cooked in oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. “Saal fish” is also a popular breakfast which is salted cod. Eating high sodium diet places the individual at risk for hypertension. According to a Harvard University research, “It is clear, however, that high blood pressure is a leading cause of CVD. It accounts for two-thirds of all strokes and half of heart disease. In China, high blood pressure is the leading cause of preventable death, responsible for more than one million deaths a year.” (MacGregor, 2009) A healthier option for breakfast would be oatmeal or porridge which is also a popular dish eaten by Jamaicans. For lunch and dinner, they eat a large proportionate of rice with stew chicken. The stew chicken is made with oil, spices and lots of salt. This places the individual at risk for hypernatremia, diabetes and GERD from ingesting excessive spices. Another major dish they eat is jerk pork. This dish has high content of fat which places them at high risk for developing, atherosclerosis, stroke and CVA. Serious illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and atherosclerosis is irreversible and requires lifetime medication to treat these illnesses. An individual with inappropriate diet is advised to modify their lifestyle by changing their diet and exercising more often.

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Health Care decisions

A low-income family is not expected to go to the doctor. Jamaicans believe in self-treatment. They believe that is not necessary to go to the doctor and waste one’s money if they can be self-treated at home. This places the individual at risk for developing various illnesses which could have simply been prevented if they visited the doctor and had regular checkups. Health care decisions is typically made by the patient themselves unless contraindicated. Parents makes medical related decisions for their child since the child is not capable of deciding for themselves.

Social Roles

Women are expected to farm, harvest food and take care of poultry in the hot beaming sun. Excessive amount of sun exposure places an individual at high risk for developing skin cancer. Women in the Jamaican culture are very hard working. They practically stand on their feet all day doing chores and maintaining the household. Working excessively can cause stress. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol which affects the heart. This places the individual at risk for getting coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. According to worksmart, the author states, “Study after study has linked stress to all manner of health problems, included high blood pressure, infertility, indigestion, allergies, migraine, diabetes, ulcers, skin breakdown and depression.” (p.1) An individual who is hard working is advised by their health care provider or nurse to change their sedentary lifestyle by working less hours, sleeping at least 8 hours every night, minimizing stress related activities and meditating.

Sickness and disease

Jamaicans use many alternative therapies to cure sickness such as, eating excessive ginger or garlic. These individuals are generally advised to consult with their physician before intaking such substances since it might interact with other drugs. They also tend to sap alcohol all over their body because they believe doing this will increase their circulation. Putting alcohol directly on skin can cause excessive dryness which places the individual at risk for having impaired skin integrity. Prolonged skin dryness can lead to premature wrinkles. According to mayo clinic, “Dry skin shrivels plump skin cells, which can lead to premature fine lines and wrinkles. Moisturizing traps water in your skin, which helps mask tiny lines and creases.” (p. 3). Healthcare professionals advices these individuals to apply lotion to maintain moisture in order to prevent dry skin.

Culturally Appropriate Nursing Strategies

Nurses provide culturally sensitive care to patients by learning about various cultures other than their own, having an open mind and by developing cultural awareness. Being culturally competent allows the healthcare provider to deliver efficient care to patients from different cultures. One can learn about various cultures by asking patients questions, researching, reading books etc. The first step to take before learning other cultures is to explore their own culture and figure out how their own culture makes them feel. There are specific things healthcare professionals need to keep in mind before proving care to Jamaicans. For example, it is important for a health care professional to maintain eye contact, listen carefully and show interest when taking to the patient. This will increase trust between the provider and patient. Secondly, providing therapeutic touch generally makes the patient feel comfortable which will make the patient more willing to comply. It is also important to communicate everything that the nurse is doing with the patient. For example, if the nurse is performing a dressing change, they should tell the patient why and how they will be performing the task. Generally, health care decisions are made by the patient themselves unless they are an older adult or a child. The health care proxy is usually the patient’s parent or child. Questions should be directed towards the healthcare proxy when taking care of young children and older patients.

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