Respecting Cultural Preferences in the Delivery of Healthcare to Ethiopian Immigrants: An Interprofessional Approach

Monday, 30 October 2017: 3:45 PM

Beth Desaretz Chiatti, PhD
College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Ethiopians represent the second largest African immigrant population in the U.S. and generally reside in large cultural groups within major cities. Immigrant populations are subject to health disparities based on language differences, cultural preferences and traditions, and a lack of knowledge about how to navigate the complex U.S. health care system. A barrier to obtaining quality care is also affected by the failure of those professionals working in the health care system to view cultural differences as important.

This author conducted an ethnonursing research study. The purposes of this study were to identify and describe the culture care beliefs and practices of Ethiopian immigrants living in the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. and to advance the science of transcultural nursing by examining how culture, worldview, illness interpretation, technology, socioeconomic status, religion, politics, values, education, age, gender, years in adopted country, and family structure, formed the basis of the patient’s health care perspective. Leininger’s Theory of Culture Care Diversity and Universality was utilized as the framework for this study and research was guided by various qualitative enablers.

Culture care beliefs and practices of these immigrants revolved around cultural identity, family and friends, community, and religious practices. Based on the data, the researcher identified 14 care patterns and five themes. These patterns and themes indicated that the informants were acculturated to the western lifestyle in which they resided, while still maintaining culturally-based health care beliefs and treatment options. Through analysis of the data, it became clear which aspects of culture care practices should be maintained, such as valuing the patient’s cultural identity, which should be accommodated, such as availability of interpreter services and expectations of nursing care centered on evidence-based practices, and which should be restructured, such as reinforcing an internal locus of control by promoting preventive care and health screenings.

In this presentation, the author will briefly discuss the background of Ethiopian immigration in U.S., the purposes of the study, research questions, theoretical framework, methodology, and sample, identify the culture care beliefs and practices of Ethiopian immigrants, present patterns and themes, implications for nursing research, practice, and education, and present the implications of an interprofessional approach to health care for meeting the culture care needs of Ethiopian immigrants.