Health Literacy

Please write a Paragraph answering to this discussion below with your opinion. Please include citations and references in case of another source.

The society of America is made up of complex and beautiful cultures and beliefs. These elements make the country remarkable and on the other hand presents various obstacles to providing outstanding healthcare. To excel in this area it is important that all aspect of an individual be considered in order to meet and surpass expected needs. These process is being constrained by various barriers including Linguistic/Literacy issues, cultural and religious beliefs. For these obstructions to be reduced or eradicated, a nurse must first of all understand the natures of these differences and how individual’s beliefs is affected in regards to medical care.

Linguistics/Literacy issues- When patients come across language obstacles, they always seek other medical sources- these results non-compliance with medication rate increasing and receiving less preventative care. Most times patients leave the hospital and any healthcare facility against medical advice.

Cultural- When it comes to medicine and healthcare, every culture has their set of attitudes towards it. Some society belief in supernatural forces- “Magico-religion”. It is important for nurses to understand when a certain society belief that illness is as a result of sin of the past or caused by evil spirit, and when it is believed that holistic and natural cures are more effective than traditional medicine.

Religious Beliefs– Healthcare decisions and desires can be greatly influenced by one’s religious beliefs. While still delivering appropriate care, a nurse should understand a patient’s belief appropriately to determine a course of action. A clear example is the Jehovah’s witnesses who will not receive blood transfusions. Other options are available in a non-life threatening situations to improve blood levels such as erythropoietin, Procrit and other iron containing products so as to be conscious of the patients religious beliefs. While working on correcting the medical condition. This situation do frustrate many physicians who would prefer to give blood transfusions. It is therefore very important that we as nurses advocate and stand up for our patients and make the doctors realize that even though this is not quick, it is definitely a feasible solution.

Being successful in our endeavors and gaining the trusts of patients as a medical community is possible if we show awareness of patient’s beliefs and desires by working to help them overcome their health issues in a compassionate and culturally sensitive way.


Flores, G., 2006. “Language Barriers to Health Care in the United States. The New England Journal of Medicine. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp05831. Retrieved from

Singleton, K., Krause, E., (Sept. 30, 2009) “Understanding Cultural and Linguistic Barriers to Health Literacy” OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. Vol. 14, No. 3, Manuscript 4

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