Heritage Assessment Tool

5 Oct No Comments

One approach nurses can use to deliver quality and safe care to client populations is to determine the extent to which a client identifies with a traditional heritage. Through independent online research locate a heritage assessment tool. Conduct your own heritage self-assessment. Answer the following questions about your experience.
In a 1-2 page Word document:

Reflect upon your own heritage assessment and explain the degree to which your answers indicate you identify with your traditional heritage.

If you believe or do not believe you identify with your traditional heritage, discuss why and how you believe it may impact your nursing practice.

Explain how you can use a tool like a heritage assessment with clients and their families and how this will help develop your cultural competence.

In the U.S., many citizens and immigrants withhold distinct and unique heritage. Some families may have recently emigrated, from their native country, some of the citizen’s ancestors have been resided in the U.S. for a longer period of time. The Heritage Assessment Tool can be applied to both types of individuals, however it may be evident that individuals, whose family has a long history in the US, will probably have less cultural diversity, secondary to acculturation of our melting pot society. Contrarily, individuals whom recently migrated to the U.S. will have a greater response, when examining the whole individual.

The heritage assessment tool that I used for self-evaluation can be found in Spector’s (2000) text, CulturalCare: Guide to heritage assessment and health traditions. It is a tool that is used to by professional providers to gain knowledge of the patient’s culture, in order to deliver patient-centered and culturally sensitive cares that are congruent, with the patient’s values. The heritage assessment tool that I decided to utilize is comprised of 29 questions; ranging from paternal demographic questions, like maternal and paternal birthplaces/origin, family size, family dynamic and their respective relationships, religious preferences, to home practices, education, food, language, ethnic activities and other personal health beliefs and practices.

After taking the 29-question heritage assessment, there were only a few answers that identified me, with traditional character. One interesting component that links my Irish heritage to traditional customs is that of our current familial ties still residing in Ireland. With respect to my paternal side of the family, my grandfather and great uncle are still in infrequent contact, with family, residing outside of the Wicklow area. According to Dossey (2016), A” wide range of disparity has been noted regarding the link between Irish Americans and the family in the homeland. For some Irish Americans, there appears to be an almost mystical link between the family in the United States and the roots in Ireland. These roots often lead to a particular farm that may still be inhabited by a remnant of that particular clan” (pg. 684). Furthermore, my father was one of 5 siblings, who grew up in a small “Iron Range” town in northern Minnesota, in a poor family. Like many other Irish families who emigrated their native country, my father and his siblings worked as laborers, service workers and miners, specifically in the MNTac mines. . Additionally, my father belonged to the Catholic, his entire life, until he left to start his family, with my now mother. I have also recognized congruency, with respect to time. “Many Irish of today are present and future oriented, working hard to achieve a future objective. The Irish tend to maintain a hard work ethic and to have difficulty tearing themselves from a long day at the office to indulge in a social function” (Dossey, 2016, pg. 687). I believe this is one of the biggest and most obvious recognized parallels, with my Irish heritage. Like my father, I work day-in and day-out and honestly being able to count my “calling-in sick days” over the course of 14 years, on two hands. Prior to being matriculated into our nursing program, I even balanced working three jobs, working everyday of the week, for the past three years.

Although I am able to identify some consistencies, with my traditional heritage, overall I believe it is coincidental and not directly associated with my lineage. As previously stated, I am a fourth generation Irish American, along with fourth generation Finnish American. Fortunately, I was raised into a priviledged middle-class family, that emphasized the significance of politeness, hard work, dedication and diligence. Although, my father’s family was significantly poor, he persevered through high school and college and moved to the foreign Twin Cities to work 30 years at the Cottage Grove, MN 3M plant. Another reason why I do not truely identify, with my Irish American heritage is because of St. Patrick’s day. One of the 29 questions,, on the heritage assessment tool, asks whether I celebrate any “ethnic activitines, including singing, dancing, holidays etc”. Who does not celebrate St. Patrick’s day, today? This holiday has transitioned into a diverse and trendy, wide-spread public event, celebrated by all, by wearing shamrocks, green attire, and attending parades, while eating eating and drinking anything, secondary to temporary unrestricting food/beverages from Lenten. Although I find my heritage and ancestry very intriguing and interesting, my family has suburbanized and is accustomed to Western society. My paternalistic lineage has already gone through the acculturation process. With that being said, I have been raised in a very supportive and open-minded, yet somewhat conservative family. We went from Catholicism to being a non-practicing Lutheran family. Additionally, I am a openly gay male that is completely supported by my siblings and parents. Truly, I have made an impactful change, on how my parents previously viewed and judged the world and people.

I believe the usage of the heritage assessment tool can be a great way to get a gross grasp of an individual and potentially even their family. This evaluation assists with achieving specific desires of diverse patient populations, based on their respective cultural needs.. Evaluate and discuss how the families ascribe to traditions and practices. The evaluation of these different cultures reveal similarities and differences in traditions that may help provide holistic optimal health delivery.
The definition of cultural awareness is an individual’s awareness of their understanding between themselves and other backgrounds, attitudes to health and specific cultural values (Cultural awareness, n.d). Cultural competence refers to knowledge and skills that must be obtained to care for culturally different backgrounds (Spector, 2008). The Heritage Assessment Tool (HAT) , is a check list used by professionals to gain knowledge of patients culture and beliefs prior to initiating care (Spector 2000). In combination with questions that relate to health beliefs and practices the HAT assessment includes events in their childhood, which contribute to the values, and beliefs in adulthood……

Spector, R. E. (2000). CulturalCare: Guide to heritage assessment and health traditions (5th ed.). Pearson Education/PH College.




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