Medical Anthropology is dedicated to the relationship between human behavior, social life, and health within an anthropological context. It provides a forum for inquiring into how knowledge, meaning, livelihood, power, and resource distribution are shaped and how, in turn, these observable facts go on to shape patterns of disease, experiences of health and illness, and the organization of treatments. It focuses on many different topics including the political ecology of disease, the interface of the micro- and macro-environments that affect health, the politics of responsibility as it relates to health, gender and health, the moral, political and interpersonal contexts of bodily suffering, and the social meanings of disease categories and ideals of health. Focal points also include the cultural and historical conditions that shape medical practices and policies, the social organization of clinical interactions, and the uses and effects of medical technologies.
In applying Anthropology to the profession of nursing I would be looking into health, disease, illness, and sickness in human individuals which would be undertaken from the holistic and cross-cultural perspective. This is distinctive of anthropology as a discipline, that is, with an awareness of their biological, cultural, linguistic, and historical uniformity and variation. As a nurse I would study the health, health problems and human responses which occur as a result of life processes. Emphasis would be placed on the nursing process as a systematic method of assisting clients to attain, regain and maintain maximum functional health status.
Knowledge of cultural diversity is vital at all levels of nursing practice. It is of the utm...
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...g health care. It is this attitude which creates problems between nurses and clients of diverse cultural groups.
Of the many things that I have learned during my course in Anthropology 201 and will carry with me into my nursing profession, the understanding of and the respect that must be given when providing health care for people of other cultures is most certainly the most significant. Critical examination of the historical, socio-political, scientific, and cultural influences of a client¡¦s life is essential to providing the best health care possible. Ethnocentrism, though existing to some degree in all cultures, has no place in the nursing profession. One must be able to be as neutral and unprejudiced as possible. I believe the knowledge that I have gained will assist me in becoming the best nurse that I can possibly be regarding cultures other than my own.
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