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    Back to Module 13: Cultural Issues
    Orientation to this Module

    Our Approach to Culture
    Cultural Fact Sheets: Where to Find them
    Why We Avoid a Fact Sheet Approach

    Our Approach to Culture

    • Our approach here is to provide tools for discovering the expectations and needs of patients and their families from other cultures
    • We do not believe that a fact sheet approach to ethnic groups is useful by itself
    • Rather, we will use brief examples and more extended case material to illustrate how to determine the needs of patients and families from diverse cultural communities
    • The focus in this portion of the module is on ethnicity, cultural groups based on country of origin
    • In other areas of the module cultural values and beliefs rooted in specific religious traditions are addressed more thoroughly

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    Cultural Fact Sheets: Where to Find them

    • Fact sheets on specific cultural groups may be found at the following websites:
    • Also many larger cities have published guides or histories of ethnic groups and neighborhoods, for example, The Chicago Ethnic Communities Atlas
    • References to published material on specific groups will be included and updated when a particularly good source is suggested

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    Why We Avoid a Fact Sheet Approach

    Reason #1: Cultures Are Rich, Complex, and Diverse

    There are several important reasons why we avoid a fact sheet approach. First, cultures are rich, complex and diverse. A few facts may simply not be useful

      For Example
      Knowing that most Filipinos are devoutly Roman Catholic and prefer not to be interrupted when reciting the rosary (Really! This interesting fact is contained in a widely available “ethnic fact book!”) does not help distinguish the spiritual needs of Filipinos from Gypsy, Mexican or Croatian Catholics

    Reason #2: Fact Sheets May Reinforce Stereotypes

    Of necessity, a fact sheet can reinforce or create stereotypes, which can lead caregivers to overlook important individual differences

      For Example
      Descriptions of Japanese and Native Americans as “stoic” or Filipinos and Puerto Ricans as “expressive” may confuse a style of communication with what is being communicated
      Learn to develop your “third ear,” to hear requests for care behind apparent refusals of care

    Reason #3: Fact Sheets Do Not Convey Within-Group Diversity

    Fact sheets do not convey the diversity within a cultural group

      For Example
      Differences of age, sex, education, occupation, class, generation and assimilation can be profound within a community defined by shared religion, language and national origin

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