Impact of Culture on Professional Practice – Essay Example

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The paper "Impact of Culture on Professional Practice" is a good example of a nursing essay. Culture refers to the shared values, customs, and beliefs of a group. These ingredients have been acquired starting from birth and are influenced by family, education, religion, and peers. To understand the dynamics of any community, it is important to probe into and understand the culture and practices of that group. Deep knowledge and understanding of the culture can reveal the daily realities and structures of a community, organization, and business. Similarly, any reforms directed towards that group are likely to fail unless they align with and link to its unique culture. In the last two decades, in particular, culture in nursing and professional practice has garnered a lot of interest and it has never been as important in nursing terms as it is today (Raywid, 2001, pp. 16-23).

It is easy to see how culture is important in nursing, particularly when the nursing eventually or directly communicates with people, whether they are patients, doctors, colleagues, or patients’ family members (Andrews and Boyle, 2008, pp. 56-60). Cross-cultural research is most useful when it can provide explanations and substance to modern nursing management and practices. Hofstede carried out important research of this kind by devising four dimensions to characterize cross-cultural differences in professionalism. These were “power distance, individualism versus collectivism, masculinity versus femininity and degree of uncertainty avoidance” (Hofstede, 2007, pp 1-4).
Power degree has to do with the extent of hierarchy that can be found in the workplace and how much inequity and distance between social strata and classes that are tolerated. In a few countries, for example, there are large differences between the positions of nurses in hospitals and direct communication between these ranks is very low. In the UK, on the other hand, nursing professionals tend to be of an egalitarian nature; everyone can easily approach their superiors and vice versa (Burnard and Gill, 2009, pp. 55-63).
Another cross-cultural difference noted by Hofstede was the degree of integration within a community. This links to whether people prefer to work alone or in groups and has a great impact on professional practice. It is highly affected by cultural upbringing and if people learn to be independent of an early age and impacts motivation and interpersonal relationships. Traditional countries such as Guatemala encourage collectivism and this is evident in work ethics. Group work and cooperation is encouraged and one ascribes success to communal efforts (Kelley, 1999, pp. 13-28).
The qualities of traits that are preferred in various societies also show the link between culture and professionalism. Whether a society is male-oriented and gives preference to traits like assertiveness, dominance, and success as opposed to personal relationships and social welfare, has a huge impact on the ethics in the professional place and the way people work to achieve an end. Additionally, it also influences the amount of division of labor that exists in society and how genders tend to distribute between particular professions and even within a certain profession.
A final difference noted by Hofstede was the level of uncertainty people are willing to tolerate. This relates to the need for structure and people’s approach to the future and uncertain events. People with high tolerance tend to require coherence and strict rules and ethics to abide by such as in Greece. On the other hand, in general, Swedes have a higher tolerance for ambiguity and therefore a freer and less structured work atmosphere (Schneider and Barsoux, 1997, pp. 23-25).
Today, cultures are merging through globalization; technology is becoming more advanced and impacting how we communicate, interact, and work. Therefore, considering that culture is a dynamic force, it is important that research continues in the field of culture and professional practice to keep abreast of the latest tools to ensure global cooperation.

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