Cultural, Ethical, and Spiritual Competencies of Health Care Providers Responding to a Catastrophic Event
Jose, Mini M
Critical care nursing clinics of North America 2010 Dec; 22(4): 455-64
Compassion is a language that is understood across cultures, religions, and nations. Being compassionate and empathetic is a basic responsibility of health care providers responding to disasters. Compassion and empathy cannot be operationalized unless providers show culturally competent, ethically right, and spiritually caring behavior. In addition to being accepting of cultures other than their own, providers must read literature and familiarize themselves with the predominant cultures of the affected population. Ethically right decision making is essentially an act of balancing the risks and benefits to the entire society. Spiritual care is an important dimension of total health, and therefore recognition and resolution of the spiritual needs of disaster victims is an essential role of health care providers. Disaster management is teamwork and therefore requires that health care providers draw on the expertise and support of other team members; coordinating efforts with local religious, social governmental organizations, and NGOs to deal with the intangible effects of the cultural and spiritual impact of a disaster and to prevent further demoralization of the affected community is imperative. Disasters occur, and the only thing that can ameliorate their devastating effects is to improve disaster preparedness and respond collectively and courageously to every catastrophic event.
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