Wellness iNPractice Diabetes

Awareness of Patient Cultural Beliefs and Practices

Cultural competence—the ability to recognize cultural issues and how they might affect care—is an important skill for Nurse Practitioners who care for patients with diabetes. Certain cultural practices or beliefs may conflict with the instructions patients receive about diabetes self-care. For example, certain patients may come from a culture that values privacy, and so may be less willing to share personal health information that is relevant to treatment. Other cultures may rely on herbal treatments that could affect the efficacy of diabetes medications. Still others may place emphasis on the family or community as sources of health information, rather than the medical community. You can enhance patient care by acknowledging your patients’ cultural beliefs and practices and approach their care with the goal of understanding how to work with cultural factors to enhance the diabetes care plan. In cultural assessments, providers are encouraged to ask patients about their beliefs about diabetes or specific aspects of its treatment. This facilitates the identification of perspectives that could present an obstacle to care. Taking patient beliefs into consideration will allow you, in partnership with the patient, adapt diabetes management plans to help achieve glycemic goals. Understanding how the social and cultural backgrounds of your patients can affect diabetes management can strengthen the relationship between you and your patients, facilitate communication, and allow patients to feel like partners in the decisions being made about their care.

African American Patients

Latino Patients

Asian Patients