Culturally Competent Nursing for Chinese Americans

The assessment of people’s cultural backgrounds is an essential task not only for nursing but also for the entire healthcare system. Comparing the unique aspects of a particular ethical group makes it possible to find an approach to each case and not violate the ethical principles of interaction between medical providers and patients. To test the relevance of this assumption in practice, as a research object, a representative of the Chinese American group will be invited for an interview, which will be based on the Purnell model and its 12 domains. This person is a longtime friend of mine, and although we rarely see each other, I am interested to learn more about his background through this study. He is L., a thirty-one-year-old male, and he also works in the healthcare sector. A detailed survey will allow finding out the health practices of L.’s culture and provide an opportunity to draw a parallel with the traditional American approaches to different aspects of life.

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Overview, Inhabited Localities, and Topography

The respondent notes that he lives in New York, near the well-known Chinatown district. According to Lee (2016), this area is one of the most populated by the Chinese American population since this is the starting point for the resettlement of minorities in the country. L. has lived here since his birth, although his parents are from China. He has never had any temporary or permanent housing anywhere other than New York. The man has medical insurance and, despite not very high wages, he can afford the essentials of life. L. has no children, and he has never been married. He has specialized education in the field of medicine and is one of the valuable employees of the city hospital.


The interview was conducted in English, and L. confirmed that this had been his native language since birth, although he understood Chinese because his parents taught it to him. The respondent does not experience difficulties with the expression of thoughts and speaks clearly. During the conversation, L. behaved confidently; he did not avoid eye contact and used gestures moderately. According to him, he is rarely late for business or friendly meetings since his parents instilled in him punctuality and respect for someone else’s time. L.’s speech pattern was high-context, which made him a convenient interlocutor.

Family Roles and Organization

Although L. lives separately from his parents, he appreciates the communal order and the continuity of generations. As Lee (2016). Chinese Americans adhere to the idea of ​​group life in communities, which led to the emergence of large individual areas. According to the traditions of their national culture, the man is the head of the family, but respect for women is crucial. Young people are obliged to show respect to elders and have no right to make serious decisions, for instance, marriages or moving to other apartments without relatives’ agreement. L. argues that he has an American way of thinking and allows for a variety of cultures, including sexual ones, although his parents and other older relatives visiting them sometimes do not approve of it.

Workforce Issues

L. confirms that he is a loyal employee and does not experience difficulties in interacting with colleagues of both genders. According to him, he comes to work and meetings with management on time. In case of difficulties with the performance of immediate duties, the man turns to colleagues for help. Since English is his first language, he does feel not anything similar to a communication barrier. In general, L. notes that he performs all the assigned activities assertively and in good faith.

Biocultural Ecology

L. is in good health and rarely suffers from any disease, except for seasonal influenza epidemics. Since he has never been treated in a hospital, he cannot confirm or deny allergies to certain drugs. Judging by the man’s physique, he has a developed musculature and joint mobility. His appearance is typically Asian with corresponding skin color. He identifies himself as a Mongoloid race, although he has been a US citizen since birth. In his family, there are no hereditary diseases transmitted from generation to generation.

High-Risk Behaviors

L. explains his well-being by the fact that he has never smoked or taken drugs. At the same time, he may afford some alcohol in the company of friends or relatives during holidays. According to him, he does not exercise every day, but he tries to walk more because he understands the importance of an active lifestyle. The man does not have a personal car; therefore, the risk factor associated with driving is irrelevant to him. He is also aware of contraception principles and the main modes of transmission of dangerous infections, including HIV.

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The respondent is not very pleased with his weight and believes that he has a few extra pounds. At the same time, he almost does not eat harmful food and adheres to a healthy diet, although in some cases, he affords high-calorie products, such as baking. L. eats porridge, meat dishes, and is well versed in spices, which is part of his national culture. He cooks himself but sometimes haves a snack in catering establishments. In cooking vegetables, he prefers a steam method and usually stews meat. In general, L. seeks to preserve the food culture of his relatives and loves Chinese national cuisine.

Pregnancy and Childbearing Practices

L. has no children, but he has a younger sister who was also born in New York, and he remembers the time when his mother was pregnant. The man notes that in his culture, females are responsible for their children, starting from the moment of their conception. Since in his family, vegetables and fruit have always been included in the daily diet, during pregnancy, women do not have to change their nutrition mode dramatically. Regarding legal issues, Villalonga-Olives, Kawachi, and von Steinbüchel (2017) mention cases in California when activists tried to restrict undocumented migrants and their children in the right to medical services. However, neither L. nor his loved ones have faced such a situation in New York.

Death Rituals

The respondent argues that he has not been able to attend the funerals of the representatives of his national culture. However, he knows death rituals from his parents’ stories. Among Chinese Americans, cremation is preferred, which is largely due to overpopulation. The procedure itself is not too different from that in the United States, although some unique nuances are present, for instance, guests’ light-colored clothes. Children, as a rule, do not participate in such events. The perception of death and grief is usually expressed less acutely than in American culture.


L. notes that he is not a supporter of any religion and does not attend Catholic or other churches. Nevertheless, he knows about the spiritualistic traditions that his ancestors promoted in China. Also, many of his acquaintances adhere to a collectivist religious ideology that, as Edara (2016) remarks, is characteristic of Chinese Americans. At the same time, L. sometimes meditates to relax. According to him, immersion in consciousness allows him to understand the meaning of life and not to worry about minor problems.

Healthcare Practices

Since L. rarely gets sick and works in the field of healthcare, he has little knowledge of traditional medical practices in his culture. He is a proponent of the modern principles of treatment and supports such procedures as blood transfusions or organ transplants, although he has never been a donor himself. Also, L. knows about some of the beneficial properties of herbal medicines that his parents gave him in childhood. The respondent is not familiar with classical Chinese acupuncture techniques or other non-standard therapies.

Healthcare Providers

Work in the healthcare sector allows L. to better navigate the strengths of certain types of treatment. According to Byon, Hinderer, and Alexander (2017), old and young Chinese Americans have different beliefs about the principles of medical care and the activities of relevant providers. L. notes that he refers only to narrow profile specialists, for instance, an ophthalmologist when he needs to check his eyesight. Also, he sometimes makes an appointment with massage therapists since he sometimes experiences discomfort in the lumbar. The respondent does not confirm the propensity to visit physicians exclusively of the same gender as himself.


The interview with L. provides an opportunity to learn more about health practices promoted in Chinese American culture and find out its key features in various aspects. Although the respondent does not adhere to the traditional methods of treatment, he is aware of some unique approaches maintained by his ancestors. Life in the USA since birth has become the main criterion that influenced the lifestyle of L. and those habits that he adheres to and appreciates.

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Byon, H. D., Hinderer, K., & Alexander, C. (2017). Beliefs in advance care planning among Chinese Americans: Similarities and differences between the younger and older generations. Asian/Pacific Island Nursing Journal, 2(3), 83-90. Web.

Edara, I. R. (2016). Relation of individualism-collectivism and ethnic identity to spiritual transcendence among European Americans, Asian Indian Americans, and Chinese Americans. Counseling and Values, 61(1), 44-63. Web.

Lee, J. H. (2016). Chinese Americans: The history and culture of a people. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Villalonga-Olives, E., Kawachi, I., & von Steinbüchel, N. (2017). Pregnancy and birth outcomes among immigrant women in the US and Europe: A systematic review. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 19(6), 1469-1487. Web.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Culturally Competent Nursing for Chinese Americans." July 9, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Culturally Competent Nursing for Chinese Americans'. 9 July.

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