Cultural Sensitivity

By: dhtest

Diabetes educators shouldn’t assume that there is just one way to talk to their patients. Like the general population, people with diabetes come from many different cultures, and it is essential that all patients understand how to take care of themselves.

Elissa K. Hallen, RN, CDE, of San Francisco recently wrote that it is important to individualize teaching plans and not assume that a patient is merely a generic unit within his or her culture. Such care includes consideration of individual menus, holidays, and family structure.

Hallen recommends finding out about the person through open discussion. Caregivers should ask questions about beliefs, traditions, and diet that may conflict with the “typical” diabetes treatment plan.

“The best source of information about a person’s cultural beliefs is that person,” Hallen writes. “Awareness of cultural differences between educator and client is the basis for development of effective teaching careplans. Diabetes educators must move beyond this strong basis of cultural sensitivity to develop standardized, fair, concrete methods for diabetes teaching, management, and patient advocacy.”

This research was presented at the 22nd Annual Meeting and Educational Program of the AADE in Boston, August 1995.



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