With the emergence of multiculturalism as well as healthcare diversity, cultural competence is a crucial element in healthcare. Essentially, cultural competence enables the care providers to effectively understand the needs of a specific cultural group and provide care that is congruent to these needs (Purnell, 2012). As such, “Purnell Model for Cultural Competence” is an important tool that helps the care providers to assess and understand the beliefs, behaviors, attitudes and values of a specific cultural group and provide care that aligns to their beliefs, behaviors, attitudes and values. In addition, the model helps the care provides a framework for the assessment of the healthcare needs of various cultural groups whereby this enables the care providers to customize their interventions in alignment to the needs of the said cultural group. The purpose of this paper is to describe the specific characteristics of the Chinese cultural group based on the domain of Purnell’s model. Additionally, the paper will discuss a common health risk among the Chinese and the preventive strategies that can be used to promote their health.
Overview/heritage Typically, china has a population of about 1.3 billion people and about 92% of the Chinese population are Han while the remaining percentage comprises of a mixture of various nationalities and ethnicities. In the U.S., most of the Chinese live in New York, Texas and California and they are highly conservative, thus they maintain most of their social-cultural values and beliefs. Additionally, the Chinese highly value university education and thus most of the Chinese immigrate to the western nations in search for university education. However, some of the Chinese immigrants especially the professional emigrated to the United States to escape the 1997 repatriation (Purnell, 2012).
Mandarin is the main language is china that is used by about 70% of the Chinese population (Purnell & Pontious, 2014). However, there are other distinct dialects used by a small population, some of these dialects include Hunatese, Fujianese, Contonese and Shanghainese. Although the dialects are different the Chinese use a common written language. Most of the Chinese use low or moderate tones in speaking. Thus, nurses should use an appropriate tone when handling Chinese patients.
Family roles and organization
Essentially, the Chinese culture places high value on the family well-being rather than the individual and most of the Chinese households comprise of extended family members. The Chinese highly respect the elders and male elders are involved in most of the decision making processes and male children are valued than the female children. Men are considered as the decision makers and the breadwinners in the family.
Chinese people easily adapt to their new workplace culture through the use of other Chinese individuals to learn new culture. Additionally, they usually give their co-workers various gifts as a sign of appreciation for assisting them to adapt and cope with the new culture. However, some gifts such as umbrellas are considered culturally inappropriate among the Chinese. Thus, if an individual wishes to offer a gift to a Chinese he/she should inquire whether the gift is culturally appropriate. Chinese people usually converse in low or moderate tones, thus, one should be watchful about the tone they use when communicating with Chinese individuals.
Bicultural ecology In regard to the skin color, most of the Chinese have pink undertones, a few have yellow tones while some are dark. Their hair is usually straight and black, though some have curly hair. Generally, Chinese newborns have high bilirubin levels. Moreover, the radius of the Chinese people is smaller than the ulna and they have smaller hip measurements (Purnell, 2012). Thus, healthcare providers should educate them on the importance of calcium consumption in regard to the prevention of osteoporosis due to their high risk of the disease. “Rh-negative blood group” is not common among the Chinese and they have poor mephenytoin metabolism. Studies indicate that analgesics are associated with an increase in the gastrointestinal side effects among the group and they have a high alcohol sensitivity. Most of the common health conditions among the Chinese include; hepatitis B, diabetes, lactose intolerance and tuberculosis.
Smoking is the most widespread high-risk behavior among the Chinese teenagers and men, thus healthcare providers should collaborate with educational institutions to educate them on the health hazards of drugs as well as substance abuse on the other hand, smoking is uncommon among Chinese women, though the habit is increasing among immigrant Chinese women. In the recent years, the consumption of alcohol among the Chinese has rapidly increased with statistics indicating that a significant percentage of both men and women consume alcohol.
Chinese people highly value their food habits and they always serve food to guests irrespective of the time. Furthermore, Chinese meals usually follow a specific order that emphasizes on maintaining a healthy diet and they use food to prevent illnesses and strengthen the weak older adults. The usual Chinese diet vary depending on each Chinese region. However, the most popular grains include; peanuts, wheat, soybeans, rice and sorghum while the pork, beef, scallops and fish are the most common meat choices and tofu is the staple diet in China. Chinese people normally prefer green vegetables and the popular drinks include juice, tea and beer. The Chinese usually consume foods with high fat content and salt. Therefore, healthcare providers should educate them on healthy eating and the potential risks associated with unhealthy eating.
Practices in childbearing and pregnancy
The Chinese law places strictly emphasizes on one-child and therefore birth control practices such as sterilization, use of intrauterine devices and oral contraception are common among the Chinese (Purnell, 2012). Moreover, abortion is a common practice in China, therefore, healthcare providers should be conscious of abortion problems among Chinese immigrants and develop interventions to minimize abortion. Pregnancy is considered as an important life event among Chinese families, although pregnancy is considered as a woman’s affair. Most Chinese women prefer female obstetricians during child birth. Pregnant women are required to take a lot of meat in order to strengthen the fetus and avoid taking shell-fish due to associated allergies (Purnell & Pontious, 2014). Perinatal care comprises of one month recovery period whereby women are required to take warm and cooked food to avoid “yin”. According to the Chinese traditions, touching or drinking cold water is considered a taboo among women during the perinatal period.
According to the Chinese traditions, bereavement and death is mainly focused on ancestor worship. Most of the Chinese do not accept life insurance since they associate it to death. White and black colors are associated with bad luck and death. Friends and family members unite to mourn their loved ones and viewing of the body is done either in the hospital or at home. Overall, most of the Chinese people fear death and avoid incidences associated with death.
China is a multi-religion society and most of the Chinese belong to various religious denomination. In relation to this, Buddhism is the most widespread religion among the Chinese. Some of the other popular religions among the Chinese include; Christianity, Taoism, Islam and Confucianism.
Health care practices
Chinese people believe in both conventional and traditional medicine. However, most of the Chinese individuals especially the older adults believe in traditional Chinese regimens. Some of the Chinese patients do not disclose some of the health conditions and treatments because of embarrassment and therefore healthcare providers should encourage them to disclose their health conditions and treatments. Additionally, Chinese individuals use moxibustion and acupuncture in their treatments and traditional medicine mainly focuses on herbal therapy. Most of the Chinese individuals are sensitive to touch and feel uncomfortable when touched especially by the people of the opposite sex. In addition, most of the Chinese accept organ transplants and blood donations.
Chinese people respect both the traditional and the western providers of healthcare. However, a few of the Chinese people distrust the western providers of healthcare due to invasiveness and pain. Most of the Chinese individuals show great respect to the older providers of healthcare compared to the younger ones and they respect men more than women.
Primary prevention for diabetes
Based on the assessment, diabetes is one of the most widespread health condition among the Chinese. Increase in diabetes cases among the group is largely attributed to unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activities especially among the older adults. In regard to the nutrition, most of the Chinese consume high carb foods such as rice and foods with high fat content that increase their risk of developing diabetes. Thus, healthcare providers should educate them on the health risks associated with these foods and foster healthy eating among the group as a way of preventing diabetes. Additionally, care providers should encourage the Chinese people to participate in regular physical activities so as to maintain an optimum blood sugar level.
Purnell, L. D. (2012). Transcultural health care: A culturally competent approach. FA Davis.
Purnell, L., & Pontious, S. (2014). Cultural Competence. Multicultural Approaches to Health and Wellness in America, 1.