Range of cultural diversity in your work environment

Spend some time thinking about the cultural differences listed below and how each of the areas of difference effects what happens in your day-to-day work environment in relation to co-workers and clients. Record your answers in the table below.

You might include some of the following in your answers:

• Which staff are rostered on particular days. This might be to allow for people’s religious obligations, or to ensure a good balance of staff with particular language difficulties.

• Timing of peoples’ holidays to coincide with important religious or other celebrations.

• Timing of co-workers’ breaks to allow for prayer times.

• The need for understanding when co-workers are away from work because of their need to meet cultural or family obligations.

• The type of food served in the staff canteen.

• The inability of some workers to perform certain tasks because of cultural considerations. For example not handling food derived from ingredients which are culturally forbidden.

• The need to communicate with clients in a way which does not offend their cultural sensitivities.

• Different special requests from clients such as choice of food, style of room etc

• The need for patience in communicating with co-workers and clients who speak different languages.

• The way you talk to clients and co-workers.

• The way you react to your supervisor and the way your supervisor reacts to you.

Cultural Differences How does this difference effect what happens in your day-to-day work environment in relation to co-workers and clients?

Religious and other beliefs
Beliefs about health and wellbeing
Attitudes to family
Attitudes to work
Roles of individuals in society
Holidays and celebrations
The way people communicate with one another
Activity 1.5: 3 MARKS

Functions of values – example

Think of and discuss one example of the function of values that has been allocated to your group. Write your example below.

Cultural Clash

Below is a student nurse’s experience of cultural diversity. After you have read the extract discuss the questions and answers with your group. Write your answers below.

Giancarlo Dilettoso had been a patient in the cardiac unit for five days. During that time he and his family had upset most of the nursing staff and some of the medical staff as well. Giancarlo never had less than six visitors at one time and frequently the number exceeded ten. He looked exhausted and other patients were complaining. Any approach to the family always ended in confrontation.

Mary, a Division 2 Nurse, came on duty at the beginning of visiting hours. She immediately assessed the situation and approached Giancarlo and his family. Mary calmly and reassuringly informed the family that they were wonderful to support Giancarlo so well. She acknowledged how difficult it was for them to visit several times a day and she knew how proud Giancarlo was to be a member of such a loyal family. Mary then told them that because of the nature of the ward, cardiac care patients had to be kept quiet and free of anxiety at all times. That included Giancarlo. All patients needed their rest and Mary suggested that just until Giancarlo was a bit better, only two relatives visit at one time.

The family responded positively, Giancarlo and the other patients got some rest and Mary was viewed as a magician by her co-workers.

• What did Mary do that differed from previous approaches?

• Do you think the fact that Mary is of Italian background had any bearing on the outcome?

• Have you any personal experience of advantage because you had first-hand knowledge of a particular culture?

Sample Solution