Every individual belongs to a particular culture that expresses different beliefs, customs, and values. Cultural heritage is a fundamental aspect that helps individuals to understand how well they are aligned to a certain culture. When people understand other people’s culture, they perceive them in a better way and it reduces conflict between individuals of different cultural background. Cultural assessment tools were designed to promote health care providers in determining the way such people value and perceive health related issue engrained in their culture. The assessment tools aid in determining how an individual is aligned to a certain culture. With a better understanding of other people’s culture, disparities and stereotyping are unlikely to exist. Heritage assessment tools are becoming popular due to the results they bring to an individual and a practitioner. The heritage of a group of people plays a vital role in determining how and what they value most in their culture. Since people have different orientations, cultural beliefs and values differ across the globe. To some extent, individuals from the same society might exhibit different culture and values depending on their social orientation and environmental factors. These may include the school one went to, town and social interaction, which will have an impact on cultural heritage of such individuals. In this regard, the importance of understanding one’s cultural heritage by use of assessment tools will be discussed in this paper.
Assessment tools help to understand an individual fully. When it is well administered, one will understand some underlying factors that can assist in nursing. For example, some cultures do not believe in going to the hospital when they fall sick. With such an understanding, such individuals can be advised on what to do to avoid infection. It also aids in understanding one’s behavior since cultural background influences an individual’s behavior. In case such people fall sick, it is easier to effectively apply the right approach when dealing with their health complication.
The cultural assessment tools make the work of health care providers easier to perform. For instance, they are able to offer the best advice on matters of health that are in line with what the society believes in. In most of African communities, having many children was considered as a sign of wealth. When the health system was inadequate, they preferred many children just in case some died from diseases. It would therefore be inappropriate to advance the theory of permanent family planning procedures since it will be rejected by the society. To make health care providers operate within cultural beliefs, it is appropriate to look for other strategies for controlling birth rate that will not be rejected by the community served.
From the assessment tools, I have realized that one should have an in-depth understanding of how he/she is linked to his/her culture. Subsequently, such knowledge will not only assist the individual but they also assist health providers who will be able to provide health services that are acceptable in the community (Leavit, 2010). For example, Christians, especially Catholics, are skeptical in accepting the use of condom as a family planning method. Thus it means that an understanding of one’s religion can assist health care providers in determining which principles should be advanced and which should be not.
In my assessment, I looked at three different families with different cultural orientation, which are Africans, Indians and Chinese.
Africans believe in traditional medicines, which they mostly use to maintain their health. They do a lot of manual work, believing that they can maintain their health by being free from complications that are brought by a lifestyle that does not involve exercises (Bowden, 2010). Chinese, in their turn, maintain their health through exercises, acupuncture and meditation. Children are taught a number of sports like martial arts from an early age, which help them to avert many health complications. Indians, on the other hand, extensively use herbal medicine, with the help of which they are able to maintain their health. Indian herbal products have gained popularity in many countries across the globe.
Africans protect themselves from health complications by having an understanding of the causes of illnesses and by using appropriate methods to prevent infections. They have traditional healers who advise them on ideal practices to avoid infection. Chinese and Indians practice alternative medicine, but at the same time consult health care providers.
To recover from health related complications, Africans use both herbal treatment and conventional methods. They also advocate for the rest that helps fully to recover from health complications. Indians mainly use herbs to restore their health, whereas Chinese make use of acupuncture, meditation, and herbalism (Yu, 2004).
As for my Indian culture, aromatherapy has been practiced for a long time. Aromatic plants extracts and essential oils are believed to improve the mood and health of an individual. This practice has been used for many years and is still popular with the Indian community (Indian culture, 2010).
Families exhibit different ways of ascribing to their cultural heritage. Africans, for example, believe that women should be rather plump and buxom. They value ‘big’ as a beauty and most girls are advised to eat a lot. On the other hand, Chinese and Indians women are preferred to be thin, which is ideal in their culture.
To conclude, it is pertinent to note that cultural orientation is losing popularity due to social interaction, which has made most people lose their culture and beliefs. If the trend does not change, these tools might become irrelevant, since people are changing their beliefs at a great rate.