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WEEK 11 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1
Week 11 Discussion Questions
Florida National University
Nursing Department
BSN Program
NUR 3655
March 17, 2019
Prof. Cassandre Milien, MSN, RN
WEEK 11 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
2
Health care beliefs vary from the nutrition of people, their practices concerning health
and even their lifestyle. All these aspects of the culture of people may either directly or indirectly
affect the health of people. Health care beliefs are those ideas that people have about health and
disease. This may include how they report signs, their anticipations when they seek health
services and their view on medication and treatment (Purnell, 2014).
Russian culture consists of many beliefs and practices that concern health. Russians
believe in nutritious meals; hence they like homemade foods, especially meals that contain meat.
They also believe in daily practices that promote health, for example, exercising and wearing
appropriate clothing in cold seasons to keep warm. They also believe that alcoholic drinks are
not bad, hence they make traditional drinks by distillation of potatoes. In addition to that, they
have laws that forbid euthanasia or even suicide. They value family so much that the old are
taken care of by the young (Purnell, 2014).
According to Shi & Singh (2014), the Polish culture also contains beliefs and practices
that influence health. The people of this culture believe that pregnant women should be hidden to
avoid being exposed to things that may make the pregnancy impure for example evil people or
fire. They also believe in nutritious foods; hence they believe in taking meals that contain meat
especially pork. Traditionally, they used to believe the disease was caused by spells or even due
to evil spirits. They also believe that alcohol is not bad, hence people practice alcoholism. They
have ritualistic practices that must be practiced after one die.
The Thai people have practices that affect how they perceive health. They believe in that
illness is caused by supernatural powers, powers of nature and universe powers. The health
beliefs of Thailand are called Thai Traditional Medicine (TTM) (Peltzer, Pengpid, Puckpinyo &
Yi, 2016). TTM contains; traditional ways of diagnosing disease, traditional treatment options,
WEEK 11 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
3
for example, massage and even the traditional medications. They believe in eating good food
that is nutritious. Their staple meal is rice. Infant care is essential in their culture with the
children being weaned at two years.
There are some similarities between Polish and Russian health beliefs. They both like
similar food that is meat. Most of their traditional meals contain meat since they view it as
nutritious. In addition to that, they all do not have a negative impression on alcohol hence
alcoholism is very common. People of these two cultures take vodka. Thai people do practice
alcoholism.
Health beliefs influence the delivery of healthcare in many ways. Firstly, it affects the
health seeking behavior of people in that people fear to come to a hospital because they believe
in traditional medicine for example TTM (Peltzer et al, 2016). A person from Thai culture will
prefer to look for a traditional health practitioner instead of coming to the hospital. Secondly, it
affects a person’s perception of illness and health hence the person may find it difficult to believe
in diagnosis made in hospitals since they believe that their illness has been caused by a
supernatural power. Thirdly, it affects a person’s choice of treatment since some cultures do not
believe in pharmacological drugs, for example, the Thai culture prefers to use massage as a way
of relieving pain instead of using analgesics (Peltzer et al, 2016).
In addition to that, health care beliefs affect the health promotion practices that are
instilled by hospitals. For example, in the Polish culture a pregnant woman would prefer to stay
hidden instead of coming to the hospital for antenatal services, hence this puts the unborn child
at risk of complications like spina bifida (Yoocharoen & Muangchana, 2016). Beliefs also affect
people’s perception of death hence it may be hard to explain the cause of death to a patient who
believes that death is caused by supernatural powers. Some of the practices like alcohol abuse
WEEK 11 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
4
lead to health complications like liver cirrhosis hence this poses a challenge to health care givers.
This is because even if a patient is advised to stop the habit, the patient sees no reason to stop
since it is a normal practice in their culture. Beliefs, religion, and culture are the core of their
very being, and this will affect their behavior, needs and often their attitude towards illness
(Harrison, 2015). A patient may be comfortable and be satisfied out of practicing their faith and
having their cultural and religious needs respected and recognized at a time of hospitalization
and illness.
In conclusion, people all over the world have preconceived ideas of what health means,
the meaning of illness, the treatments one believes to be effective and the meaning of death. This
poses a challenge in the delivery of health services in hospitals, since it becomes difficult to
convince a person that what he or she believes may not be true. These challenges require
hospitals to be culturally competent to ensure that everyone’s culture is respected.
WEEK 11 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
5
References
Ditsungnoen, D., Greenbaum, A., Praphasiri, P., Dawood, F. S., Thompson, M. G., Yoocharoen,
P. & Muangchana, C. (2016). Knowledge, attitudes and beliefs related to seasonal
influenza vaccine among pregnant women in Thailand. Vaccine, 34 (18), 2141-2146.
Harrison, G. (2015, July). Religious and cultural beliefs. Retrieved from
http://www.bfwh.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Religious-And-Cultural-Beliefs.pdf
Peltzer, K., Pengpid, S., Puckpinyo, A., & Yi, S. (2016). The utilization of traditional,
complementary and alternative medicine for non-communicable diseases and mental
disorders in health care patients in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. BMC
complementary and alternative medicine, 16 (1), 92.
Purnell, L. D. (2014). Guide to culturally competent health care. FA Davis.
Shi, L., & Singh, D. A. (2014). Delivering health care in America. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Running head: HEALTH AND CULTURE
1
Roxana Tejera
Florida National University
Nursing Department
BSN Program
NUR 4636
03/19/19
Prof. Cassandre Milien, MSN
HEALTH AND CULTURE
2
Cultural beliefs entail the practices that a group of people value and the way of life that
they are accustomed to. Often enough, these practices dictate the way those who practice them
interact with people regardless of whether they are visitors who subscribe to another culture or
not. According to Levesque and Li, when establishing health policies, it is vital to take into
consideration the cultural beliefs of the people who will be impacted by the policy once it is
adopted. This is because different forms of culture affect how healthcare practices are carried out
in the world today (Vaughn et al, 2009). Similar sentiments are supported by Napier and others
who explain that different societies would be reluctant to adopt health practices that contradict
their culture, even if those health initiatives will benefit them as a community. The Russian,
Thai, as well as Polish heritage, differ from each other in a number of ways and subsequently
affect how health practices are conducted within the three societies.
Healthcare beliefs
Healthcare beliefs between the Russian, Thai, and Polish heritage appear to differ to a
large extent. Pregnancy and childbirth is a crucial health practice that is adhered to across all
three cultures. However, the Thai heritage allows women to bear as many children as possible,
which is contrary to what the Russian system advocates for (Purnell, 2012). In Russia, families
are allowed to uses different means of family planning systems that control the number of
children that a couple may choose to have. The Polish heritage permits women to go for medical
checkups during their pregnancy.
HEALTH AND CULTURE
3
Prenatal visits to the hospitals play a vital role during pregnancy since it helps the
physician monitor the condition of the pregnancy and to check if everything is well with both the
mother and child (“What is Prenatal Care and Why is It Important?” n.d). Should there be an
issue that requires immediate addressing, the healthcare giver can come up with a treatment plan
to ensure a smooth pregnancy for the expectant mother. While the Thai heritage allows for
women to seek medical care during pregnancy, it does not allow them to be attended to by a
male physician especially during childbirth (Purnell, 2012). Therefore, it is vital to understand
such cultural practices since a medical practitioner who has no knowledge of the same may fail
to understand why the patient does not want to be attended to by them.
Mental health among the Thai has a lot to do with the cultural beliefs of the people. For
instance, mental illness among Thai heritage is considered to be a punishment to the affected
person for participating in a practice, which is considered to be a taboo (Purnell, 2012). Such
beliefs go further and affect the treatment mechanism to be adopted in the patient’s case. Since
the disease is considered to a punishment of some sort, the treatment plan involves traditional
methods that have cultural relevance to the people who subscribe to the heritage. This is different
from the way mental illness among the Russians and Polish is addressed. In the two heritages,
the condition is addressed like any other illness, and medical solutions are adopted to see if the
patient will recover. In extreme cases, patients with mental illness in Russian heritage are usually
admitted to psychiatric facilities where they are closely monitored.
View on Death
Across the Thai, Russian and Polish heritage, death always signifies a period of mourning
for the affected family and friends. Practices around death vary across the three cultures
HEALTH AND CULTURE
4
depending on the culture and way of life of the affected people. Thai culture dictates that once a
person is deceased their body be cremated as opposed to being buried (Purnell, 2012). This
practice is in line with Buddhist spiritual beliefs. On the other hand, the Russian death rituals
advocate for the burying of the deceased individual. The color black is normally used as the
color to signify that the family and close friends of the person are undergoing a mourning period.
During this time, support is offered by other family members and friends who stay with the
affected people until they reach a time when they are emotionally stable and are in a position of
going on with their lives after the loss of their kin. Just like in the Thai heritage where the
religion of Buddhism plays an integral role, the same applies to the Polish heritage. Poles, who
are mainly Catholic, conduct a funeral mass for the departed at the church or in a place selected
by the family (Purnell, 2012). In addition to this, a wake may be observed for a period of three
days.
HEALTH AND CULTURE
5
Conclusion
Cultural practices and health practices go hand in hand depending on the way of life of
the people in question. For this reason, health policies designed to better the lives of the targeted
group of people should take into account their way of life to eliminate the possibility of a conflict
or a boycott of the services. If the culture only accepts female physicians to conduct specific
procedures and not men, then such policies must take into account matters of a similar nature.
HEALTH AND CULTURE
6
References
Levesque, A., & Li, H. Z. (1999, May 1). The Relationship Between Culture, Health
Conceptions, and Health Practices: A Qualitative-Quantitative Approach. Retrieved from
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/270520040_The_Relationship_Between_Cultur
e_Health_Conceptions_and_Health_Practices_A_Qualitative-Quantitative_Approach
Napier, A. David, et al. (2014). “Culture and health.” The Lancet384.9954 1607-1639.
Purnell, Larry D (2012). Transcultural health care: A culturally competent approach. FA Davis.
Vaughn, L., Jacquez, F., & Ray. (2009). (PDF) Cultural Health Attributions, Beliefs, and
Practices: Effects on Healthcare and Medical Education. Retrieved from
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228546479_Cultural_Health_Attributions_Beli
efs_and_Practices_Effects_on_Healthcare_and_Medical_Education
What is Prenatal Care and Why is It Important? (n.d.). Retrieved from
https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/prenatal-care

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