Below is a student nurse’s experience of cultural diversity. After you have read the extract discuss the questions and answers with your group. Write your answers below.
Giancarlo Dilettoso had been a patient in the cardiac unit for five days. During that time he and his family had upset most of the nursing staff and some of the medical staff as well. Giancarlo never had less than six visitors at one time and frequently the number exceeded ten. He looked exhausted and other patients were complaining. Any approach to the family always ended in confrontation.
Mary, a Division 2 Nurse, came on duty at the beginning of visiting hours. She immediately assessed the situation and approached Giancarlo and his family. Mary calmly and reassuringly informed the family that they were wonderful to support Giancarlo so well. She acknowledged how difficult it was for them to visit several times a day and she knew how proud Giancarlo was to be a member of such a loyal family. Mary then told them that because of the nature of the ward, cardiac care patients had to be kept quiet and free of anxiety at all times. That included Giancarlo. All patients needed their rest and Mary suggested that just until Giancarlo was a bit better, only two relatives visit at one time.
The family responded positively, Giancarlo and the other patients got some rest and Mary was viewed as a magician by her co-workers.
• What did Mary do that differed from previous approaches?
• Do you think the fact that Mary is of Italian background had any bearing on the outcome?
• Have you any personal experience of advantage because you had first-hand knowledge of a particular culture?
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