Madeleine Leininger and Transcultural Nursing Theory


“Provision of culturally competent health care: An interim status review and report” is an article written by Carol Lynn Esposito for the Journal of the New York State Nurses Association in 2013. This article aims at reviewing the current nursing literature that relates to the recent progress of the field of transcultural nursing. The author relies on the requirements and guidelines established by the American Academy of Nursing and explains how crucial the role of culture in nursing care is (Esposito, 2013).

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The definitions of such concepts as “culture”, “cultural competence”, “culture care”, and cultural diversity” are developed in regards to the contributions made by Madeline Leininger to the field of nursing between the 1950s and the 2000s. The peculiar feature of Leininger’s approach is her anthropological perspective on the ways of nursing thinking and the promotion of “assistive, supportive, enabling, and facilitative culturally-based ways to help people in a compassionate, respectful, and appropriate way to improve a human condition or lifeway” (Esposito, 2013, p. 6).

In the article under consideration, the author underlines the role of Leininger in the development of a nursing theoretical framework with the help of which nurses get a clear idea on how to develop their relationships with patients, what ways can be effective for improving nursing care, and why cultural awareness is important in nursing. Leininger focused her theory on culture care as a “dominant theme of nursing inquiry” and supported transcultural nursing as one of the main constructs that contribute human health and well-being (Esposito, 2013, p. 6). This article helps to understand how nurses have to develop appropriate learning environments and use transcultural nursing in promoting care for different patients under various conditions.

Basic Theoretical Assertions

Madeline Leininger is the author of the transcultural nursing theory, also known as the Culture Care theory. According to this theory, transcultural nursing is defined as a type of a comparative study of different cultures with the help of which it is possible to understand cultural similarities and differences among human groups (Esposito, 2013). The ideas of Leininger are frequently used in the modern field of nursing because her definitions of the major concepts and the recognition of such factors as religion, ethnicity, cultural identity, and race promote the development of correct nursing decisions and care plans.

One of the basic theoretical assertions is the possibility to develop an understanding of and respect for all patients despite their cultural or ethnic differences and values. Nurses have to learn how to gather information about their patients and how to evaluate the material they are able to find (Esposito, 2013). In addition, Leininger offers to consider every patient as a whole person with a number of physiological, psychological, cultural, and social factors that have to be identified before a care plan is developed. Cultural background cannot be neglected in nursing because it helps to understand some of patients’ decisions, apply their personal beliefs to their nursing care, and demonstrate respect for every social group.

Taking into consideration the scope of the transcultural nursing theory developed by Leininger and the effects it may have on nurses, it is possible to conclude that the contributions of this theorist remain to be an integral part of nursing practice and care that has to be offered to all patients regardless of their cultural and ethnic backgrounds, beliefs, and attitudes. Nursing care depends a lot on cultural understanding. Leininger offers one of the easiest and most effective ways in nursing care development.


Esposito, C.L. (2013). Provision of culturally competent health care: An interim status review and report. Journal of the New York State Nurse Association, 43(2), 4-10.

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