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Cultural Diversity in Nursing

Hispanic Culture

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Hispanic culture and diversity


Hispanic culture has many small groups of people within it.  There are some similarities such as the role the family plays in the client’s care.  Also, the elderly are more likely than another population to be cared for by their families.  It is seemingly that the Hispanics respect their elderly, and children are looked at as violating cultural norms when thy do not obey the parents (Cox & Monk, 1993).


Hispanics differ from other cultures in many ways. They tend to be more pessimistic, they are very spiritual; they also feel that appearance is very important which shows in the decorativeness of their homes and the way they dress. Family life within the Hispanic culture is extremely valued. They are very supportive of family members and family always comes first (Hispanic Research, 2006).


The male role is viewed as authoritative and paternalistic within the family while the female is submissive and protected (Cox & Monk, 1993).  The role can some times collide when having a marriage from two different cultures.  For example the Spanish and Hispanic cultures, I knew a couple who were married and she did not like how authoritarian he was.  She left him because of it.  With that being said, actual cultural practices can vary from the norm in different degrees. There was another experience when a Hispanic couple had a child in the hospital and the mother wanted the nurse to wait to speak with the father.  They obviously adhered to this cultural belief.


Communication should be respectful when interacting with someone of  the Hispanic culture. Physical touch, eye contact, and use of first names during an early relationship should be avoided. If a family is in disagreement about a certain health issue they will show it by using silence and noncompliance. Good communication is very important because Hispanics may feel that in presence of lack of communication are prejudice issues (Kemp, 2005).


Hispanics made up 12.5 % of the population in 2000 (this is up from 6.4% in 1980). Hispanics made up 2% of nurses in 2000 (Kozier, Erb, Berman, & Snyder, 2004). With an increase in the population of Hispanics it is important for providers to be aware of cultural or personal health beliefs.  Some of the specific items to be aware of with Hispanics are some foods and medications that can sway the balance of the body.  Only give cold water if the client requests it and after having a child respect requests for rest, also offer sponge baths after birth.  Allow the family time with client and to do as much as possible for them.  A belief in fate and external control at times can lead to the client not following the medical or nursing regiment.   The family may or may not want the client to know the status of their health, for example if hospice is needed. (Kozier, Erb, Berman, & Snyder, 2004).


            The church is central to the culture and they may seek the church out to help with different hardships in life. The majority of Hispanics are of the Roman Catholic religion. Their religion plays a large role in their family lives. They turn to the saints of the religion for specific ailments, for example, St. Joseph for dying, and there you may find pictures of the saints with candles lit around them, this is called magico-religion (Kemp, 2005).  




Cox, C. & Monk, A., (1993). Hispanic Culture and the Care of Alzheimer’s Patients [electronic Version]. Health & Social Work, 18, 2. Retrieved March 5, 2007 from academic Search Premier data base.


Hispanic Research, Inc. (2006). Hispanic Culture. Retrieved on March 8, 2007 from


Kemp, C. (2005). Mexican & Mexican-Americans: Health Beliefs & Practices. Retrieved on March 8, 2007 from


Kozier, B., Erb, G., Berman, A., & Snyder, S. (2004). Fundamentals of Nursing.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Person Prentice Hall.


Advanced Clinical Practicum
Emily Gausman-Katie Glenn-Brandon Williams-Jennifer Zucal-Benjamin Bickford-Ashley Johnson-Amelia Esch-Frances Yehl-Nichole Nagle-Rebecca Snyder