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Disparity or Inequality in Health Care


There are many studies dedicated to the significance of culturally competent care in contemporary nursing. The diversity of the population, which resulted from the global migration, demands knowledge of racial and ethnic peculiarities of health and diseases to provide adequate care and reduce the existing health disparities. The module about cultural variations in the environment and susceptibility to diseases provided me with some knowledge about the issue and helped to realize the meaning of racial/ethnic health disparities in nursing practice.

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Reflection Journal #3: Health Disparity or Inequality

The most surprising fact in the research about cultural health disparities was the significance of racial and ethnic background for the diagnosing and treatment of diverse diseases. Thus, representatives of different ethnicities demonstrate dissimilarities in susceptibility to diseases and health in general. For example, African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and Asian Pacific Islanders have a shorter life expectancy due to many disparities (Giger, 2013).

The statistics prove that for African-Americans such health problems as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and AIDS cause death more frequently than for the rest of the population. Speaking about depression, which was the topic of the previous research, it should be mentioned that studies provide evidence of racial and ethnic disparities in its treatment (Cardemil, Nelson, & Keefe, 2015). Consequently, the knowledge of these peculiarities typical of different races and ethnicities can be used in nursing practice to reduce the negative impact of disparities and provide high-quality care disregarding racial or ethnic belonging.

The knowledge obtained during the module can be used to alleviate disparities amongst transcultural clients. For example, the social organization of national minorities has an impact on nursing care. Thus, the knowledge of the fact that African American families are frequently oriented around women can be used during the organization of disseminating information or involving a family member in the treatment process (Giger, 2013).

The understanding of cultures, values, traditions, family systems is necessary both for diagnosing and treatment (Douglas et al., 2014). For example, folk medicine and folk practitioners, which are still significant for Mexican Americans, can prevent patients of this ethnicity from receiving high-quality care, and thus attention should be paid to this aspect. Finally, the knowledge of racial and ethnic peculiarities can be used in preventing some diseases. Thus, awareness of the high susceptibility of African Americans to AIDS or heart diseases should help to develop preventive strategies and thus reduce health disparities.

One of my friends shared his experience of facing health inequality. His grandmother lives in a suburb with poor transportation. She is paralyzed as a result of a stroke and needs regular examinations in a hospital. Their family does not have a car where a wheelchair can be placed, and the hospital does not provide transportation services. They felt depressed, and I despair because they could not afford to rent a specialized vehicle.

The problem was solved with the help of a local community center and insurance provider, which organized transportation once a month. Another way to handle this issue could have probably been the provision of transportation by a hospital.

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Summarizing, it can be mentioned that every resource, which can help provide care, should be used. The knowledge of cultural peculiarities and racial or ethnic health disparities is a powerful resource for the implementation of culturally competent nursing care. Thus, this information should be applied to reduce the existing disparities and provide representatives of all minorities with equal access to high-quality care.


Cardemil, E., Nelson, T., & Keefe, K. (2015). Racial and ethnic disparities in depression treatment. Current Opinion in Psychology, 4, 37-42. Web.

Douglas, M., Rosenkoetter, M., Pacquiao, D., Callister, L., Hattar-Pollara, M., Lauderdale, J., … Purnell, L. (2014). Guidelines for implementing culturally competent nursing care. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 25(2), 109-121. Web.

Giger, J. (2013). Transcultural nursing: Assessment and intervention (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

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