You understand? A qualitative study of nurses’ experiences caring for patients with a minority ethnic background

Mohamad Zarakit (Anden rolle), Evron, L. (Oplægsholder)

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    Western countries have a growing number of older immigrants and refugees using home health care services. Unfortunately, nurses face various challenges related to institutional constrains and intercultural
    communication providing care and treatment for these patients.
    The aim of this study is to explore intercultural communication practices between home visiting nurses and older patients with a minority ethnic background in Denmark.
    Method: Semi-structured interviews and participant observation of
    three nurses providing care for patients in a Copenhagen district, which had a high rate of older minority patients. The study is based on a
    hermeneutic approach and data is analyzed via thematic analysis.
    Results: We identified four themes: 1) Overwhelmed feeling of powerlessness.
    This was related not to make oneself understood versus feelings of discomfort and irritation when the patient did not try to speak or learn Danish. 2) Different perceptions of health and health care needs among health professionals, patients and relatives. Particular challenges were when relatives with Danish language skills pushed for alternative health care services, which according to the nurses contradicted the patient’s will. 3) Anxiety and uncertainty, which was related to (in)appropriate behavior, exceedance of
    bodily boundaries, optimal care and patient safety. 4) Communication strategies included: personal experiences, non-verbal and/or primitive language use, use of other staff members’ expertise, translators and/or relatives. In addition, nurses recommended telecommunication with translators/relatives/staff as a part of the organizations’ services to increase the quality of care.
    Conclusion: Home visiting nurses seem to struggle with emotional, physi
    cal and institutional challenges providing care for patients with a minority ethnic background every day. Organizational support such as online access to translators/staff/experts may reduce the feeling of powerlessness of home visiting nurses caring for patients with a minority ethnic background and in crease the quality of care.
    Keywords: ethnic minority, home visiting nurses, intercult
    ural communication
    Periode20 jun. 2017
    BegivenhedstitelEuropean Transcultural Nursing Association: Promoting Cultural competence in a digital/technological world
    PlaceringOdense, Danmark
    Grad af anerkendelseInternational


    • Sygdom, sundhedsvidenskab og sygepleje
    • qualitative research