In some cases, cultural sensitivity may pertain to clinical instructions or nutritional advice that poses potential conflicts with religious dietary laws that nurses cannot necessarily rely on patents to mention. By recognizing the cultural or religious significance of dietary issues, nurses can make the necessary inquiries to create work-around solutions to situations that might otherwise become barriers to achieving the most successful clinical outcome of medical interventions. In other cases, cultural sensitivity may mean understanding relationships, hierarchies, gender-specific, and generation-specific rules or expectations that are implicit in some families as well as particular communications dynamics within families. In many instances, failing to appreciate the significance of these types of culture-dependent dynamics can seriously undermine the clinical effectiveness of even the best medical information and instruction.
The commitment to being aware of culturally-determined interpersonal and intrafamily relationships and expected channels of communication, the practicing nurse can provide patients and their families with the best possible counseling and healthcare-related education designed to facilitate their optimal health. Ultimately, it is precisely this combination of increasing cultural diversity among patient populations, the realistic constraints of the time available for physicians, and the increased importance of the patient counseling and education role of practicing nurses that has raised cultural awareness and sensitivity to such a crucial determinant of the effectiveness of modern nursing interventions that it is justified as a focus of nursing philosophy.