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Latino Culture Related to Purnell Model Essay

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 7 (1714 words)
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Cultural competence is the ability to interact well with people of different cultural backgrounds (Rundle, 2002). It provides the best ways of meeting the needs of diverse patient population which is always on the increase, as well as ways of effectively advocating for them. This means that cultural competence has the benefit of enabling nurses to deliver services that respect and effectively respond to health beliefs and practice needs of diverse patients. Through the process of globalization, nurses are moving to places of nursing shortage to offer their knowledge and skills beyond their home country (Campbell, 2003).

In this case, information about culture, ethnicity and race becomes important to nursing profession and health care. This paper examines the culture of Latino’s under the guidelines of Purnell’s Model of cultural competency. It looks at issues relating to health promotion, disease prevention and management factors affecting health which are basically the aims of community health nursing. The Purnell model is a model that was developed to provide and organize framework for nurses to use as cultural assessment tool.

The model is a concept where all people have been represented at various levels. They range from global society, community, family and the individual and I will utilize this model to explore the Latino community.

Heritage/Culture selected

Latino includes any person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South American, Central American or other Spanish culture regardless of race (Crouch, 2004). Their origin can be viewed in different perspectives including country of birth of the person or person’s parents before their emigration, heritage, nationality group or lineage. Latino may be of any race, including Black, White, Asian and Native American. The reason for their migration to new places include availability of work, housing from friends and families which had already settled in new places, availability of bilingual education, better living conditions, and a better quality of life. Some of the occupations that have been associated with Latino include restaurants, construction, and factories.


Language is considered the most important characteristic of any culture and within the Latino community the dominant language that is spoken is Spanish, although it has been found that the younger Latino population has made English their preferred language of use. As such, Spanish speakers are scarce among the general population and this could be a barrier to the success of immigrants who do not speak English well.

As regards nonverbal communication, maintaining eye contact can be interpreted as intimidating. Latino social norms give emphasis to the importance of communication in interpersonal relationships. Latino’s tend to have an indirect communication style. Respect is highly valued and shown by using formal titles and by being very polite and all members of the family take part in this.

Family roles and organization

The culture of Latinos is socialistically characterized by dominant cooperative group activities. While working in a group not all are expected to do equal share and not working is not looked at as an offensive behavior. Responsibilities are shared among the community and the whole group is held accountable for its actions. Harmony and cooperation have been emphasized and there is little room for individual function.

The father or the oldest male relative is given the greatest power. The women, on the other hand, are expected to submit to these men. As for child rearing, grandparents play a vital role in this process in imparting moral values to children, for instance, regarding good marriage practices. Divorce is unacceptable and the petitioners could be treated as outcasts.


Most of the occupations that are associated with Latino’s include those in hotel and restaurant, construction and factories. However, it is worth noting that a great deal of Latino’s are private wage and salary workers and many others employed as chief executives, physicians and surgeons, teachers, lawyers and reporters. With regard to women, their primary role is to fully participate in the Hispanic culture and keep the family together.

Bio-cultural ecology

When it comes to identifying the Latino’s population by a type of skin color most would consider themselves as Caucasian while a few identify themselves as Black. Many others associate themselves with indigenous race while others are increasingly identifying themselves as “other”. Their origins range from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Guatemala. Notable differences among the Latino groups center on the aspects of language refinement, educational status, cultural values and attitudes toward mental health treatment (Brice, 2001).

I found that an America Latino’s are prone to illnesses such as COPD, diabetes, asthma and obesity. Diabetes and heart disease are great in Latinos then the non-Latin population is attributed to lifestyles difference such as the intake of fatty foods. It is very difficult to detect some illnesses due to their biological variations of individuals from the Latino communities.

Some illnesses take time before they are detected and effectively treated and that is why there is no specific genetic disease associated with the Latino community. But research has been known to find cases of sickle cell diseases as well as cystic fibrosis in these individuals. Sickle cell disease is found in 1 out of 24 Latino’s while 1out of 46 Latinos is believed to have cystic fibrosis.

High risk behaviors

Poverty and high drop-out rates have resulted in high drug use cases and unsafe sexual practices among the Latino’s. Findings have revealed that Latino students of 12th grade registered highest rate of use of illicit drugs such as crack and heroin. However, older Latino’s registered lower drug use compared to other races. Case studies have revealed that the use of seatbelts was least among the Latino’s, therefore increasing the risks of crash fatality.


Food has a very important role in the culture of Latino’s. In some cultures, food is given as a combination of food and herbs either when hot or cold. Typically, good appetite is linked to good health. The food preferences of children are respected and they are not forced to eat what they don’t want. There’s a belief that a child might fall sick if given food of the wrong temperature. Mothers always withhold food that might cause illness to children. Experience has made them identify a list of harmful foods and this is passed along from generation to generation (Brice, 2001).

Pregnancy and child bearing practices

The pregnant women are told what to do according to what their culture says, resulting in lower participation in their own health care. These women prefer that their mothers attend to them during their labor (Noble & Lacasa, 1990). Pregnancy is treated as a hot condition; hence foods characterized as hot are avoided. This might not be a good practice because proteins, which are considered hot, are avoided by these women.

Death rituals

There is a belief that when a person dies, the person has moved to a different phase of life (Noble & Lacasa, 1990). Even though the person isn’t there physically, they believe the person still lives in spirit. In traditional Latino families, the bulk of care provided for a terminally ill family member is performed by female relatives who are unlikely to ask for outside help to cope with the stress of looking after someone who is close to death. Ideally, spending time with a family member who is close to death allows relatives to resolve outstanding issues within the family.


Most Latino’s are affiliated to Catholicism with others attending Protestant churches. A small percentage of Latino’s fall under secular domain. Most of them attend churches characterized by many Latino’s attendees and Hispanic clergy where services are offered in Spanish. This religious faith also treats all human life as sacred. Therefore, spiritually if a Latino feels pain or illness arise this may be seen as a test of the individual’s and the family’s religious faith.

Heath care practices and health care practitioner

Latino’s have retained their traditional health practices, although the use of Western medicine is more prevalent. The result of this is that modern health care practices such as screening tests and use of preventive health care measures haven’t been adopted. This has also been attributed to a lack of health insurance which results in fewer visits to medical practitioners. According to my findings “physical and mental illness have mostly been attributed to an imbalance between the person and the environment, with influences being emotional, spiritual and social state” (Campbell, 2003).


I choose the Latino community to focus on because according to research the Latino’s is one of the ethnic cultures that is rapidly growing in the United States of America. It is evident that the Latino community is a culture rich group. For a society that is socialistic in nature, its values and beliefs are predictable; their aim is to put people together, which is a good idea. As much as these beliefs are accepted and respected, some of them are obviously retrogressive and should be done away with.

For instance, restricting hot foods for pregnant women; this means that most of them will lack proteins. It is ultimately up to the nurses and the people to understand, and respect the differences that exist between them so that they respect each other’s views in the end. My reaction to their belief is I am glad that I am not considered a part of their culture. I think it is unfair that the women take on a weak role. I am a strong, outspoken, competent, independent individual. I love my family and I will do anything for them but there has to be boundaries.

Brice, A. (2001). The Latino child: Speech, language, culture and education. (1st ed., pp. 64-77). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.

Campbell, C.R. (2003). Two eagles in the sun: A guide to U.S Hispanic culture. (3rd ed., pp. 26-38). Houston, Texas: Two Eagles Pr.

Crouch, N. (2004). Mexicans & Americans: Cracking the culture code. London, England: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

Noble, J., & Lacasa, J. (1990). The Hispanic way: Aspects of behavior, attitudes and customs in the Spanish-speaking world. (1st ed., pp. 46-58). Lincolnwood, IL: Passport Books.

Purnell, L. (2008). Guide to culturally competent health care (Purnell, guide
to culturally competent healthcare). (2nd ed., pp. 66-78). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: F.A. Davis Company.

Rundle, A. (2002). Cultural competence in health care: A practical guide. (2nd ed., pp. 82-90). Hoboken, New Jersey: Jossey-Bass.

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Latino Culture Related to Purnell Model. (2017, Feb 20). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/latino-culture-related-to-purnell-model-essay

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