Religion is an inherent part or element of a culture or society, and this must be viewed in the context of the society/culture in which this religion developed and thrived. It must be considered that all religions give credit to humanity's existence through a certain god / goddess (or in the case of polytheistic religions, gods/goddesses). Differences across religions lie only on the traditions observed, roles assumed by each member, and worldview and perspectives about specific issues, understood from the context of the society's/culture's religion. However, the central idea of having a creator/creators that govern all living and non-living things in the world remains constant across religions, therefore making it possible for anthropologists to consider and explain the concept of universality of religion.
10. How and why do cultures change?
Cultures change because of changes in the peoples' interactions or geographical phenomena. Changes in the social actors and their interactions with each other almost always result to a specific change in the cultures of the peoples, as in the case of the North and South regions in the U.S., which remained mainly conservative and liberal, respectively, as a result of their histories as 'warring' regions during the period wherein the slavery system is still in practice but constantly opposed/criticized by Americans in the North. Geographical difference is also critical in determining the differences and changes among cultures. This is reflected in African nations, which are geographically divided by their conquerors/colonizers despite the same culture that they share prior to their colonization. As a result of the geographical boundaries set among nations, different cultures emerged and developed in each country, which resulted to the creation of a distinct identity of each nation / country, but this also spurred conflicts/wars between countries, as their differences proved to be irreconcilable in specific cases/instances.
11. Madeleine Leininger: Who is she and what she did?
Madeleine Leininger pioneered the Transcultural Nursing movement that emerged in the late 20th century in the United States, and the influence of this movement eventually led to the recognition of transcultural nursing across countries worldwide. Leininger defines transcultural nursing as a substantive area of study and practice focused on comparative cultural care values, beliefs, and practices of individuals or groups of similar or different cultures with the goal of providing culture-specific and universal nursing care practices in promoting health or well-being or to help people to face unfavorable human conditions, illness, or death in culturally meaningful ways.
This passage is anchored on two main concepts relevant to the concept of transcultural nursing: nursing care and culture-specific practices. Nursing care is universal and particularly centered on medical practices and creating a balance between providing the correct medical or health care to the patient and proving care service that the patient specifically needs -- or, to a wider scope, providing specific care services to distinctly different patient needs. Indeed, through the concept of transcultural nursing, Leininger elevated the level of nursing care to a higher level, as she recognized the need for nurses to go beyond the traditional patient care they were taught to responsibly accomplish in nursing school. Through transcultural nursing, nurses are given the privilege and responsibility to demonstrate responsive and appropriate care to their patients. It is not enough that nurses provide the basic patient care needed and imperative to all patients; under transcultural nursing, nurses are expected to go beyond their "call of duty" and provide patient care that truly responds to the patient's needs and temperament.
Further into her theory and concept of transcultural nursing, Leininger determined the tenets that will drive and serve as nurses' guide towards remaining faithful to the idea of transcultural nursing. These tenets are classified as follows (in summarized form): care, caring, culture, cultural care, cultural care diversity, cultural care universality, nursing, worldview, cultural and social structure dimensions, health, cultural care preservation or maintenance, cultural care accommodation and negotiation, and cultural care repatterning or restructuring. These tenets solidify the foundation of the transcultural nursing framework. Further, the idea of providing responsive and appropriate nursing care to patients are best addressed by the tenets of worldview, cultural and social structure dimensions, health, cultural care preservation or maintenance, cultural care accommodation and negotiation, and cultural care repatterning or restructuring. These tenets provide the extension linking nursing care with transculturalism, creating the concept of transcultural nursing.
These tenets that specifically pertain to transculturalism in nursing highlights the importance of a nurse's cultural competence, the extent by which a nurse is able to provide nursing care and develop care strategies that will help improve the patient's condition or alleviate the patient's suffering or discomfort. Moreover, the transcultural nurse must respect and remain faithful to the patient's cultural background, providing care based on the patient's sensitivity and perceived importance of his/her privacy, particularly in caring for his/her body throughout the patient's illness. It is also a challenge for the transcultural nurse to not only be culturally competent in providing nursing care to a patient, but also to coordinate with the patient's family and be able to communicate with them, competently and with sensitive consideration to their culture, about the patient's condition, the kind of care given to him/her, and the reasons why these nursing care services/strategies were given.
Leininger's contribution to nursing practice is invaluable and up-to-date, considering that nursing has become a universal practice and medical care is no longer restricted to one country only. The rise of medical tourism across nations in Europe, Asia, North America and even Middle East makes it imperative for medical / healthcare institutions and hospitals to adopt the transcultural nursing concept/framework. Using this concept/framework, nurses will truly embody what "care" and "caring" should and must be about, in the medical and healthcare context.