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Heritage Assessment: Evaluation of families, cultures and views on health
Anniemae Stubbs
Grand Canyon University
Culture and Cultural Competency in Health Promotion
NURS 429
Professor Alma Celaya
June 19, 2016 Heritage Assessment: Evaluation of families , cultures and views on health
Cultural Heritage is a concept that is passed on from one generation to the next that depicts how people live, act, behave, or think. It can be a noticeable or vague manifestation. It includes various customs, traditions, practices, values and belief (ICOMOS, 2002). Heritage can be identified through relics, structure, sceneries, foodstuffs, clothing, linguistic and religious ceremonials. Cultural heritage is important to civilization and is needed for identity and self-realization. In nursing it is important to have self-awareness and process knowledge of the various diverse cultures in order to administer holistic care to each patient (Edelman & Greiner, 2010). Data can be acquired and utilized by health professionals to render unbiased and safe care. This can be done by conducting a heritage assessment using the heritage assessment tool. The Heritage assessment tool is a guide utilized by professionals to attain information which helps set specific goals that is patient centered prior to delivering health care (Spector 2000). A heritage assessment was done on three families from my local community the differences in health traditions and practices were compared between them. Twenty nine questions related to family dynamics, religion, education, and socioeconomic background were addressed. Information obtained were used to view similarities and differences between the Mexican, American, and Turks and Caicos Island cultures.
Mexican
Ms. Gonzales is a Mexican/American native born to parents and grandparents who migrated to the US from Mexico mainly El Paso and La Paz. She was raised in an extended family in the urban community. Ms. Gonzales is bilingual but prefers to speak Spanish at home and around her family. Her culture is rich unique and colorful and embraces a wide range of captivating customs and traditions. Her family enjoys the paintings, decorations, potteries that are hand crafted, multicolor baskets, rugs and clothing that is indigenous to her culture and popular throughout America. Most music is appreciated and tell stories known as “folk” songs. Mariachi is an “old-style “form of music commonly comprising of five musicians wearing a charro suit and large brim sombrero. Traditional dance is displayed through the antique Aztecs’ drums. Even though most Mexican are neutral in religious matters Ms. Gonzales and her family are practicing Catholics which is the main religion of the country. The Guadalupan name and image are national symbols that are honored and is sacred because the name is believed to have been chosen by the Virgin Mary herself. Celebrations or fiestas are enjoyed by the Gonzales as a part of tradition. The piñata is a paper made object unique to this culture. It is usually filled with goodies and hung from a ceiling at a fiesta or children’s parties. Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (religious holiday), Day of the Dead, (all souls day) where dead relatives are remembered and Independence Day are all holidays that are celebrated. La Quinceanera is also a big traditional festivity celebrating the transition from childhood to womanhood. Like many Mexicans the Gonzales appreciates the spicy dishes of her culture. Native dishes such as burritos, tacos, enchiladas and tamales are a few meals that is prepared for her family. Despite the popularity of tequila this is not favored by the Gonzales’s. Health is maintained by using home remedies to treat the common cold or flu. However, the family’s primary physician is visited only when symptoms persists and more advanced care is needed. They do have health insurance.
American
America is considered one of the most culturally diverse countries with variant different groups that have contributed their own distinct values, lifestyles and traditions into its culture. For instance, Americans from the south have different views and practices than Americans from the north, east or west. The Smiths’ are a typical example of this. They are a blended family Mr. Smith from the South and Mrs. Smith from the North. They consider themselves American not African Americans just blacks living in American. This family follows many beliefs and practices of Native Americans. Like many Americans they believe in gender equality, respect for self and others, disciplining children the old fashion way and caring for their elders. They believe in learning from life’s lesson. Education is vital hence all of the Smith’s children have secondary education and the majority has some college or university degree. The Smith considers themselves a middle class family and have routine doctor visits and checkups. They are insured and practice healthy eating habits and exercise 2 – 3 times a week. Mrs. Smith is a firm believer that once a child reaches adulthood (18 years of age) they are no longer the parents’ responsibility. The elderly however, must always be protected and cared for. Mrs. Smith and her family are strong believers in God of the Denominational faith. Seeking God’s guidance for health and strength thru praying first thing in the morning, last thing at night and before meals is a ritual. Sundays are usually spent in church and at family gathering after services with the extended family at her parents’ house. This time is used to share stories, experiences, seek advice, play games and eat. Healthy diet is not practiced during this time. A part from the celebrations on Sunday afternoons special holidays are recognized and honored such as Independence Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year’s, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Even though Americans enjoys cuisines such as barbeques, hamburgers, hotdogs, steaks, fries, pizzas, apple pies, collard greens, mash potatoes, gravy and of course ham and turkey during Christmas and thanksgiving the Smith also enjoy Fast foods from time to time. Basketball, football, baseball and soccer are popular sports in the US and is enjoyed by this family either by television or going to a game with friends and family for recreation. Designer clothing, shoes and handbags are worn by the younger generation but a typical dress style are jeans, tee shirts, sneakers and baseball caps depending on the climate and coats and boots to complete the fashion.
Turks and Caicos Islanders
The Miskick’s recently moved to the US from the Turks and Caicos’ Islands. Like the others they embrace their rich heritage and continues to practice some customs and traditions. They are English speaking friendly and peaceable people. Basket weaving and palm leaf plaiting from straw is ethnic to these islanders or “belongers” as they are called. They are Christians that attend church services regularly mainly on Sundays and Wednesday evenings. They are of the Methodist religion. Music and dance are important and is strongly influenced by African slaves and is charismatic and creative. Rake n Scrape or Ripsaw music is enjoyed from instruments made from saw, goatskin drum, the acordian and acoustic guitar. Calypso, reggae, conch style, shay-shay and soca is the preferred style of music and dance. Storytelling is another tradition that is practiced by the Miskicks. Education and Health is viewed an important aspect in their lives and the lives of their people. Education is mandatory for all children between the ages of 5 and 16. As is health screening for children and adults prior to school enrollment. Every person born in the Turks and Caicos is immunized. These efforts are governmentally funded. Whilst health care and education is free for all private means are also available if affordable. Turks Islanders enjoy fishing and farming. Hence fish, fruits and vegetables are included in their diets. Bush medicine and other remedies are used to treat certain ailments such as high blood pressure, headaches, menstrual cramps, cough and cold in addition to taking prescribed medication.
Health Maintenance, health promotion and health prevention are viewed differently by each of these cultures however, each regarded health as an important aspect and strives for maintenance in the best way possible for them.
Nurses are in a position to provide resources, services and education to each individual, family and community. Therefore, understanding a patient’s culture allow nurses to build understanding and ensure effective care while addressing the patient’s physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Further, nurses must strategize to seek conditions that allow individuals to be healthy and make healthy choices. This may require collaborating with government, international organizations, agencies and society on ways to promote good health practices. Health maintenance is crucial but prevention is more cost effective and efficient than cure.

References
ICOMOS, International Cultural Tourism Chapter. Principles and Guidelines for Managing Tourism at places of Cultural and Heritage Significance. ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee. 2002
Culture in Development: What is Cultural Heritage. Retrieved from http://www.cultureindevelopment.nl/Cultural_Heritage/What_is_Cultural_Heritage

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