Meeting the needs of minority ethnic patients

J Adv Nurs. 2004 Oct;48(1):51-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2004.03168.x.


Background: Certain aspects of nursing care related to minority ethnic patients are being highlighted in the literature, but there is little exploration of nurses' experiences of caring for people from specific minority ethnic groups.

Aim: This paper reports an investigation into the experiences of Registered Nurses caring for hospitalized Pakistani patients in the United Kingdom.

Method: A qualitative study, with a sample of 30 Registered Nurses using semi-structured interviews. The sample was self-selecting from a large health care organization in the north of England, covering adult acute, critical and rehabilitation care settings.

Results: Interviewees had difficulty in explaining the meaning of culture and spirituality and their relationship to nursing practice. They also had limited understanding of the Pakistani community, and deficits were identified in meeting the challenges offered by this community. Inadequate implementation of 'holism', poor preparation to meet the needs of an ethnically diverse society and the presence of racism in practice settings emerged as explanations for the deficits participants identified between their expectations and the reality in care settings.

Conclusion: Although 'holism' is a relevant concept for enhancing nursing practice, its meaning needs to be further debated in order to avoid a tokenistic approach to its implementation in the care of patients from minority ethnic communities.

MeSH terms

  • Cultural Diversity
  • England
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / organization & administration*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Islam
  • Male
  • Minority Groups*
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Care / standards*
  • Pakistan / ethnology
  • Quality of Health Care / standards*
  • Sex Factors
  • Transcultural Nursing / education