Nurses need to be culturally sensitive to patients, just because it is something that we do not do in our day to day lives, does not mean that someone else does not do it for religious or cultural beliefs (Alligood, 2010).  We cannot assume that because someone looks homeless that they are. If a patient is arriving by ambulance, he should be seen by someone.  It is understood that the other patients also need help, but the nurse needs to prioritize.   As a nurse, we have to observe the body language and see what the patient is feeling.

I had a friend who was an anesthesiologist and stopped at an expensive diamond store to get his wife an anniversary gift.  He was dressed down in jeans and a t-shirt and a hat nothing special said he was a doctor by his dress code.  He inquired in the most expensive jewelry and the salesperson said to him, oh let me show you this section here this may be more affordable and we can offer you payment plans.  She naturally assumed because he looked like an ordinary Joe in jeans, that he did not have the money to pay outright for his gift.  He asked for a manager and she complied, to which he stated, I am Dr. so and so head of anesthesiology at ABC hospital.  He proceeded to explain that he came in to look for a gift for his wife and was not allowed to select from the section he was looking at because his salesperson assumed that he did not have the income to afford those items.  He provided his card and stated that he would take his business elsewhere where he is not judged on his appearance. We as nurses have to be careful that we do not do the same to our patients and treat them equally the same.


Alligood, M. (2010). Madeleine M. Leininger: Culture Care Theory of Diversity and Universality. In Alligood Introduction to the Nursing Theory 7th ed. (pp. 417-434). Retrieved from Vital Source Bookshelf


Source: Rosie’s Nurse Corner