Culture is dynamic, multi-dimensional and highly nuanced, meaning it can change with people, groups, races, contexts, languages, religions and much more. In a nutshell, culture is a way of life and a guideline for social behaviour specific to communities. Our society is a hodgepodge of cultures with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, which is why the world is vibrant with myriad expressions of art, ritual, music, religion and dance. Given the different customs, attitudes, behaviours and practices around the world, how people perceive and respond to things around them is different, hinting at cultural differences worldwide. You might literally feel the cultural shock once you are out of the clasp of your cultural setting, be it your community, region or country. This article describes how cultural disparity affects Indian nurses in different countries.
Nursing is indeed a dignified profession that demands great dedication, commitment, and empathy toward patients. Nurses, being an integral part of the healthcare system, play a crucial role in providing quality care to patients. Nurses from India increasingly seek opportunities to work abroad, especially in English-speaking countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. These countries have incredible nursing programs that pull in a good chunk of students to pursue nursing. Despite the exceptionally good lifestyle and high incomes offered by these countries, working in a different country comes with its own set of challenges. Though India is a multicultural country, Indian nurses abroad could be in cultural shock while on the other side of the globe, where the cultural scene is entirely different and eclectic.
However, Indian nurses abroad are sure to benefit from cultural diversity by acquiring openness to different patient groups and learning effective approaches from their colleagues. It also fosters the development of culturally competent practices and facilitates information sharing between nurses, enabling them to modify their strategies accordingly. Cultural competence enables Indian nurses abroad to effectively understand, communicate and interact with people from diverse backgrounds. It involves comprehending the relationship between nurses and their patients and gaining knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews. If the communication is not culturally sensitive, patients and their families may be less satisfied with their care experiences, and there is a higher probability of miscommunication, which can result in cultural disparities. It may lead to poor adherence to treatment, worse health outcomes and an overall increased risk to the patient’s well-being.
When nurses fly to work in the west, things can be entirely different. Indian nurses abroad may find it challenging to communicate with patients, colleagues and superiors due to language barriers and differences in communication styles. They may also face cultural disparities in the way healthcare is provided. In India, family members are highly involved in the patient’s care and are expected to provide emotional and physical support. On the other hand, patients in western countries are expected to be more autonomous and self-sufficient. The healthcare system in India is extensively different from that of other countries, especially the Western nations. India’s large population and status as a developing nation make it challenging to provide quality healthcare accessible to all citizens.
In comparison, developed countries have a well-established healthcare system that provides first-grade healthcare to all citizens. They have a high standard of care and use advanced technology and equipment to provide treatment. The Indian healthcare system is mainly public, and the government is the primary provider of healthcare services. However, the private sector has made noteworthy strides in providing advanced and quality healthcare in recent years. Despite these advancements, the Indian healthcare system faces several challenges, such as inadequate infrastructure, a shortage of healthcare professionals, and low public spending on healthcare.
Despite the cultural differences you may find challenging in a foreign country, a substantial number of working nurses and students pursuing nursing are moving to western countries. Though many countries offer nursing programs, New Zealand is a country that provides ample opportunities for Indian nurses to work and study. New Zealand’s well-established healthcare system provides excellent care to its people. The healthcare system in New Zealand is mainly public, and the government regulates it to high-end care and treatment. The country currently faces a shortage of skills in the healthcare sector due to the increasing elder population, growing health requirements and retiring health professionals. The need for skilled registered nurses is currently high and is predicted to keep increasing. According to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, about 50% of nurses will retire by 2035. As a result, the government is actively promoting and welcoming experienced registered nurses from overseas to work in New Zealand. The need for healthcare professionals, particularly nurses, makes New Zealand attractive for Indian nurses seeking job opportunities.
There are many added advantages to studying nursing in New Zealand. Colleges in New Zealand offer critical care nursing courses to students intending to provide special care and attention to critically ill patients. Some advantages of studying in New Zealand are discussed below:
New Zealand has several nursing programs devised to meet the requirements of Indian nurses looking forward to pursuing the course. These nursing programs are designed to provide them with the necessary skills and knowledge to function well in the country’s healthcare system.New Zealand highly esteems diversity and multiculturalism. The country has a large Indian community, which makes it more effortless for Indian nurses to settle and adapt to the new culture. The high standard of living makes it an alluring destination for Indian nurses seeking better career opportunities and ways of life.