Cultural and Societal Influences on Health

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Cultural and Societal Influences on Health

There are varied cultural-based behaviors that do not promote health. Among them is the belief by some native Americans on heavenly symbols and spiritual healing that lead the practice of natural medicines. Among some Hispanics, illness is considered as a will of the gods or sometimes a punishment for wrongful doings. Some Asian Americans also do not accept mental illness; hence, people are reluctant to acknowledge when they are experiencing mental disturbances. In order to provide respectful health promotion to these cultural groups, there is a need for a nurse to get involved in cross-cultural interactions to help explore the people’s values, beliefs, and needs to help develop effective relationships (Purnell & Fenkl, 2019).

The influence of customs and cultural beliefs on health and wellness practices is vast. They affect how people perceive illness, health, death, beliefs about disease causes, how pain and illness are expressed and experienced, where to seek help, approaches to health promotion, and the nature of treatments that patients prefer (Potter et al., 2017). The influence of culture is not only on patients, as it tends to influence health professionals. This is why health systems from different countries are shaped by some historically dominant cultures.

Family, diversity, and socioeconomic issues tend to influence health choices in varied ways. When it comes to diversity, dominant cultures and sub-cultures have resulted in different trends in American health and wellness(Purnell & Fenkl, 2019). Family, on the other hand, influences aspects like housing that is affordable and safe. Safety is among health issues that some people do not have a choice based on the environments they find themselves. Socioeconomic issues, on their part, influence things like health insurance and nutrition choices.

The nursing process provides nurses a framework to help operate in a multicultural society. With proper training, nurses have the ability to deliver medical advice while understanding how cultural practices and health beliefs influence how patients receive advice(ANA, 2015). Asking about patients’ cultures, ethnic customs, and religions can help nurses engage patients in a way that it is possible to co-create care plans that are consistent with their values.




American Nurses Association. (2015). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice. (3rded.). Silver Springs, MD: Author.

Potter, P.A., Perry, A.G., Stockert, P., & Hall, A. (2017). Fundamentals of nursing. (9thed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.

Purnell, L., & Fenkl, E. (2019). Handbook for Culturally Competent Care. Springer.