When African American are many, from cancer and

Topic: Parenting
Sample donated:
Last updated: August 30, 2019

When one hears the word diversity, thoughts ofrace, cultural uniqueness, and inclusion comes to mind. It’s important toacknowledge that diversity can be an uncomfortable topic for some. How many timesas nurses are we reminded to be culturally and racially sensitive to ourpatient’s needs? The truth is diversity is more than external characteristics ofrace and gender. No one group is the same and diversity includes the differencesthat make us unique, both as an individual or a group. In order to truly grasp an understanding of theposition of older African Americans, one must first acknowledge the numeroussocioeconomic disadvantages they have experienced throughout their lives.

Thisdisadvantage is the result of being in two undervalued groups, being old andbeing black. This being said, older black Americans are survivors.  They survived the time of Jim Crow law, aperiod where prejudice and inequality were enforced and praised, limiting theiropportunities in healthcare, education, and even their neighborhoods. Becauseof this, older African Americans have had to deal with the lasting effects oftheir previous experiences while attempting to cope with poor health carecausing serious health problems.

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“Although nearly 14% of the entire USpopulation is black, they represent only 8.4% of the older population.”(Eliopoulos, 2018 pg. 27) The comorbidities for older African American are many,from cancer and hypertension to diabetes and obesity.

All of these conditions putthem at risk for heart disease. “Heart disease is a major cause of death forall Americans. For African-American women, however, the mortality rate isdisproportionately high. Genetics, environment, lifestyle, and access to healthcare are contributing factors to the negative outcomes seen in African-Americanwomen.” (Dennis, 1999) Family and religious faith plays an importantrole in the cultural beliefs of African Americans. They are less likely toplace a loved one in a nursing home. The care is usually taken over by theadult child of the patient.

They have a very strong faith in the healing powerof God and when faced with unexpected health conditions, their faith andprayers run deep. Because of the intensity of the faith, some older AfricanAmericans may be noncompliant with their medications due to religious beliefs.(Eiser & Ellis, 2007) There are many barriers to medication compliance, preventivescreening, and follow up with a primary physician.

Working in the emergencyroom, patients have many reasons for the exacerbation of their presentingsymptoms. Transportation, the patient is unable to find the appropriate meansto get to the doctors’ visits or dialysis center. Financially, running out ofmedication and having to decide or whether they should eat or buy meds. When caring for an African American patienttrust is key. As an emergency room nurse, the window of opportunity to build a rapportwith a patient is small, but necessary. When discussing the healthcare planthere has to be a democratic approach, which can involve the patients pastor,immediate family, and/or close friend. It is important to remember no onepatient is the same. Keep an open mind and steer away from “stereotypical”beliefs because every patient is different.

The goal of cultural awareness andsensitivity is to improve health care experiences, which in turn, promotespositive health results.      

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