Ethical consideration is important in nursing practice, especially when providing care to patients from diverse sociocultural backgrounds. The population of the United States comprises various ethnic/racial groups with different cultural and social beliefs, practice, norms, and values. There is an increasing disparities on the incidence and prevalence of type 2 diabetes among different communities in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hispanics and African Americans have the highest incidence and prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the country (Concha, Mayer, Mezuk, & Avula, 2016). Caring for patients from different ethnic/racial groups require consideration of ethical principles and concepts to prevent ethical issues that may arise during nurse-patient interaction.
Recently, I cared for patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus who had been hospitalized for more than two weeks due to acute hypertension, partial loss of vision. Also, the patient had a chronic diabetic foot ulcer. The analysis of his medical history revealed that the diabetic foot ulcer had developed in the last two years and had never healed. The patient was so worried about his health status and kept asking when he was going to be discharged from the hospital. The patient came from the Hispanic community, which is one of minority groups with the highest incidence and prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in the country. Being a culturally competent registered nurse, I had an obligation to take into account the specific ethnic background of the patient when providing care. Considering patient’s ethnic/racial background is important in providing quality, holistic, and patient-centered care based their health concerns, preferences, and values (Concha et al., 2016).
When collecting subjective data for analysis and planning for the care. I asked the patient about his perceptions about the possible causes of type 2 diabetes that he was suffering from. Hispanics have different beliefs in the causation of diabetes mellitus (Frieden, 2016). First, the patient believed that diabetes is a temporary condition that is not fatal. Second, the patient narrated a story that attempts to identify the cause of diabetes and concluded that they believe that people with “good diabetes” do not experience a lot of complications. The Hispanics use the term “good diabetes” when referring to the type of diabetes that do not require insulin for therapeutic purposes; non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (T2DM) (Frieden, 2016). Also, the patient had a fatalistic attitude and believed that his health condition is likely to be a punishment from God.
The patient had a low health literacy level because caregivers had encouraged him to engage in some physical exercise and adopt a self-management approach as a way of controlling and preventing complications related to his condition, but he never implemented them. Also, the patient had failed to comply with routine checkups scheduled by the caregivers; therefore, resulting to escalation of his medical condition. Home remedies is an important care approach because it promotes cultural competence. These remedies ensure that the patient able to effectively adjust to the self-management measures suggested for controlling the complications or comorbidities related with diabetes mellitus.
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