Cultural peculiarities of national minorities have the impact on the life of people in the United States. Being one of the most multinational countries, the US gives much attention to the cultural heritage of its citizens who represent different ethnic and racial groups. Cultural heritage is particularly important in health care, where the knowledge of the patient’s district features and preferences can positively influence the process of care. This paper analyses the cultural development of African American and Amish heritage in the United States as well as the influence of cultural beliefs on health care.
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Cultural Development of African American and Amish Heritage in the US
African Americans make up one of the biggest minority group in the United States, representing more than 14% of the American population (Giger, 2013). The first African Americans were brought here as slaves, and their culture is an interpretation of original African roots in the American context. The majority of African American population speaks English and identify themselves as American (Purnell, 2014).
These people tend to be emotional and open, their speech is expressive and loud, accompanied with active gestures and facial expressions. Many African American families are matriarchal and usually extended. Religion is a significant aspect of African American culture.
Amish population is not so numerous in the United States. They are descendants of the Anabaptists from Europe of the sixteenth century (Giger, 2013). The Amish arrived in North America together with other religious groups in the middle of the nineteenth century. Their culture is considered to be a high-context one. The Amish live in relative social isolation, which has an impact on their behaviors. Thus, their houses do not have electricity, and they are very selective in adopting technology (Purnell, 2014). In their communication, the Amish are rather preserved and do not demonstrate feelings in public. The Amish people value their personal space, and their houses are usually large. Their society is patriarchal, but women are treated with respect and have a high status.
The Impact of Cultural Beliefs of African American and Amish Heritage on Health Care in the US
Cultural beliefs of different ethnic groups are meaningful for healthcare. For example, the lack of knowledge of English, which is the official language of the country of residence, can become a problem in communicating with patients. Thus, African Americans have a specific dialect that can be difficult to understand and this peculiarity should be considered by nurses (Giger, 2013). Also, the loud voice of African American patients should not be considered to be a demonstration of anger but another cultural peculiarity. One more detail to remember about African Americans is the use of complementary and alternative medicine, which is popular within this ethnic group (Majumdar, Thompson, Ahmad, Gordon, & Addison, 2013).
Family plays a crucial role in both Amish and African American societies. This fact should be taken into account as well. Personal space preferences are significant for healthcare process. Thus, while African Americans are comfortable with people standing near them, the Amish prefer more personal space and may feel uncomfortable during physical examination (Purnell, 2014). Another specific feature to consider about the Amish is that they are not demonstrative and may not express suffering or joy.
Generally speaking, cultural heritage is important for every ethnocultural group. In the course of time, it determined their perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. These specific features should be taken into account by healthcare providers to make the process of care more comfortable and effective. Moreover, culturally-competent care is expected to lead to better patient outcomes.
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Giger, J. (2013). Transcultural nursing: Assessment and intervention (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
Majumdar, S., Thompson, W., Ahmad, N., Gordon, C., & Addison, C. (2013). The use and effectiveness of complementary and alternative medicine for pain in sickle cell anemia. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 19(4), 184-187. Web.
Purnell, L. D. (2014). Guide to culturally competent health care (3rd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company.