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Communication and Cultural Awareness: The Mexican Culture

The nation’s growing diversity offers health care providers and health systems opportunities and challenges to create and deliver culturally sensitive services. Mexican Americans are the fastest-growing group of minorities in the United States (Douglas et al., 2018). The cultural perspective on health care in the Mexican culture, like in all others, is changeable and expressed differently, owing to experiences and personality. Some Mexicans in the US may be quite familiar with mainstream American culture. Cultural competence is determined as healthcare providers’ and organizations’ ability to effectively provide healthcare services that meet patients’ linguistic, cultural, and social needs. A culturally competent health system can help close racial and ethnic inequalities in health and improve health outcomes and care quality.

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The Communication Skills a Nurse Needs to Communicate with Mexican Americans Effectively

The family is essential to Mexicans; consequently, it is necessary to speak both with the patient and with his family members. However, to protect confidentiality, the nurse needs to seek a patient’s permission first. Mexicans may have more trust towards nurses starting a conversation using a small talk or story (Douglas et al., 2018). The Mexican-American family’s adherence to health education and treatment protocols increases by applying language and expressions familiar to them.

Mexicans interpret unnecessary eye contact when talking in some cases as a challenge; therefore, the nurse needs to avoid it. In addition, the patient’s silence can indicate doubt, disapproval, shyness, anger, misunderstanding, or politeness. A nonverbal cue, for instance, nodding

“yes,” does not imply that a patient agrees to take the prescribed medications. The nurse may try to clarify by adding explanations or additional questions. It is important to listen to women’s voices because they take primary responsibility for maintaining the family’s health. In addition, Mexicans may feel uncomfortable being touched by a nurse; as a result, she needs to seek a patient’s permission first before an examination.

Cultural Aspects Related to Nursing Care for the Mexican Population

Mexican American culture is characterized by a value structure that includes the family’s significant importance, respect, adherence to folk remedies, religiousness, and spirituality. Familial, a strong sense of family care and commitment, is considered an important cultural asset for Mexicans. Due to it, it is necessary to remove barriers to family presence and participation during a closed hospitalization. Along with it, older Mexican women do not view health as the absence of disease; instead, they consider the decline in health to be natural and expected and anticipated family care as they become more fragile. The presence of health problems and their response largely depends on the high level and quality of social support from children and other family members.

Adherence to cultural values can lead Mexican Americans to hide aspects of their lives that they think their families will not accept. For example, Hispanic parents with children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often keep their child’s condition a secret because their behavior does not match the cultural expectation that children should exhibit good manners (Douglas et al., 2018). Nurses need to take it into consideration and not allow this type of diagnosis to take its course, despite the parents’ lack of sufficient information.

Mexicans can apply both traditional health methods and Western medicine by combining them. Where possible, it is necessary to discuss ways of incorporating traditional treatment into therapy. To correct the imbalance, people take herbs or foods of the opposite each over quality (e.g., cold conditions are treated with hot medications). If a nurse suggests a medicament inappropriate for a condition (e.g., a hot medicine, penicillin, for a fever, hot disease), patients will comply with less likely.

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Church and faith are central to much Mexican community life and family; it is particularly apparent in understanding healing and illnesses. Some Mexican Americans may argue that health is the result of luck or a reward for good behavior (Douglas et al., 2018). In addition, diseases are believed to have natural or supernatural causes. The healing forms during the treatment include religious rituals such as visiting shrines, applying religious symbols, prayer and making promises.

Best Evidence as it Relates to the Mexican-American Population and Care

Currently poor communication between health care providers and patients is common, and they are not well informed about changes in their medication and health status. A study by Amirehsani et al. (2017) showed that Mexican patients do not know what to ask and want nurses to give more information about their health. Only one member out of 172 who participated in the study described her readiness to continue asking for more data until it was received (Amirehsani et al., 2017). This shyness that results in Mexican-American patients not asking their nurse for more information is related to Latin American cultural values. It consists of the desire for positive relationships with their nurse and avoiding cooperation that might be appreciated as impolite.

Nurses Knowledge for Provide Safe and Quality Care for Mexican-American Client

To provide safe and quality care for Mexican-American clients, the nurse must know Mexican-American clients’ traditional health beliefs and practices. It includes a humoral imbalance, according to which the mental and physical diseases are believed to be a consequence of a disequilibrium between the environment and a person. Apart from it, empacho is a form of indigestion for a reason by eating at the incorrect time the improper food or eating food undercooked. Other traditional health beliefs include mal de ojo, endia, susto (Douglas et al., 2018). The sufficient language knowledge will facilitate quality connection with the patient and providing enough information about the treatment course and disease. In addition, the knowledge of behavioral features of Mexican-American clients, such as avoiding excessive eye contact when talking and being uncomfortable when touched by a nurse, will ensure the safety and quality of service.

What I Learned

A nurse entrusted with caring for clients, and their families must understand the value and importance of providing appropriate cultural care. A culturally competent health system can help close racial and ethnic inequalities in health and improve health outcomes and care quality. While there may be unique differences within a cultural group, acquiring culturally specific basic knowledge can help a nurse develop culturally competent nursing care. Increasing communication and cultural awareness is described as a process in which a nurse continually seeks to deliver care in the individual, family, and community’s cultural context, seeking cultural knowledge, understanding, and skills effectively. The cultural perspective on health service in the Mexican population requires listening to women’s voices because they take the main responsibility for supporting family health. Furthermore, the family as a social group is of paramount importance to nurses because family relationships are essential to Mexican Americans. In addition, health beliefs and traditional medicine are vital constructs in raising awareness of the Mexican-American cultural group. To conclude, awareness of nurses’ own verbal and non-verbal communication styles can help them avoid social mistakes that can offend others and negatively affect relationships.

How This Will Help Me Care for Patients

An awareness of Mexican-American cultural phenomena of social organization and environmental control can help me, as a nurse, establish trust, develop rapport, identify health resources, and develop care that is acceptable to people of this culture. Knowing and respecting Mexican American patients and their families’ medical beliefs forge an alliance heightening health outcomes through a deeper understanding of healthy lifestyle practices. Knowledge of cultural, social organization helps the nurse provide flexible, culturally appropriate health care that meets Mexican-American families’ needs. The satisfactory communication among patients, their family, and nurses is significant for developing a joint treatment plan, making a precision diagnosis, and enabling patients. Patients and their families need clear health information used to treat their medical conditions. A patient-nurse relationship built on trust, respect, and cultural competence are considerable to delivering person-centered care. Providing linguistically competent support involves understanding the explicit and implicit biases and fosters respect for all patients.


Amirehsani, K. A., Hu, J., Wallace, D. C., Silva, Z. A., Dick, S., West-Livingston, L. N., & Hussami, C. R. (2017). US healthcare experiences of Hispanic patients with diabetes and family members: A qualitative analysis. Journal of Community Health Nursing, 34(3), 126–135. Web.

Douglas, M. M., Pacquiao, D., & Purnell, L. (2018). Global applications of culturally competent health care: Guidelines for Practice. Springer.

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