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Diversity and Cultural Competence in Health Care

Religion differs in significant ways from spirituality meaning that it is the role of the healthcare professional to distinguish between the two when offering services to those in need. Religion is mostly identified with several dogmas that its believers follow. This implies that the set rules and regulations must be observed strictly if someone is to suit within a certain religious segment. The major principles governing the conduct of various religious groups are always outlined in the special printouts released that individuals ought to acquaint themselves with if they are to be considered members. When an individual becomes a member of the religious group, which might be through salvation or baptism, the rules are handed to him or her (Garrett, 2007). It is noted that religious groups differ when it comes to tolerance, as some are more liberal while others are fanatical. Finally, religion is characterized by the prescribed practices that compel the individual to go to the worshipping place whenever expected to do so by the set standards. On the other hand, spirituality exists without rules, which is the major difference between the two. It entails the cultivation of one’s spirit whereby an individual believes in something that is invisible. Spirituality is usually looser as compared to religion in the sense that it does not force its members to worship or obey certain rules and regulations. For instance reading, meditation, and praying are examples of spirituality since an individual is not forced to practice them while going to the temple and the observance of the Easter holiday are examples of religious practices that an individual must observe.

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From the above definitions of the two related, but different concepts, the role of the healthcare professional is to provide an environment that would allow people of different faiths, religious backgrounds, and spiritualities to coexist (Dreachslin, Gilbert, & Malone, 2013). It should be stated clearly that the healthcare facility does not discriminate against individuals based on religion and spiritual diversity. For diversity to be achieved, the healthcare professional should keep off from judging people based on their creed and mysticism.

Muslims and Jewish people are known to be from different religious sects and backgrounds meaning that they definitely have varying pious beliefs and spiritualities. In fact, the two cannot coexist in a single environment if the healthcare professional does not intervene to salvage the situation mainly because of the historical differences. Since the facility will always have several rooms and facilities, they should be separated from each other, but they should access similar services offered at the facility. If they are to attend medical checkups and other routine activities, the healthcare professional should set different dates and times to avoid any form of confrontation that might interfere with the access to quality service (Purnell, 2012). Somebody subscribing to the teachings of Islam will always pray at least five times a day and it is the role of the healthcare professional to provide the needed equipment and materials since the patient will be fulfilling his or her spirituality. In terms of food, religious practices and beliefs do not allow Muslims to eat certain foods, such as pork, and drink certain beverages, such as alcohol. Therefore, these should not be seen anywhere close to the patient. For a Jew, the healthcare professional should establish what the patient needs and ensure that it is availed in time to avoid any conflicts that might lead to dissatisfaction. It is concluded that healthcare professionals should take a cautious approach when serving patients.


Dreachslin, J.L., Gilbert, M.J., & Malone, B. (2013). Diversity and cultural competence in health care: A systems approach. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Garrett, L. (2007). The Challenge of Global Health. Foreign Affairs, 2(1), 14–38.

Purnell, L. (2012). Transcultural health care: A culturally competent approach. Philadelphia: F A Davis.

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