Cross-cultural promotion of health: a partnership process? Principles and factors involved in the culturally competent community based nursing care of asylum applicants in Scotland.
The aim of this study was to investigate the principles and factors underlying the culturally competent nursing care of asylum applicants. Asylum applicants are a highly vulnerable group, whose health is often severely compromised prior to arrival in the UK due to exposure to torture, violence and rape. Although they are entitled to primary health care services whilst their asylum claim is under consideration, their level of welfare support has been significantly eroded over the last decade. An analysis of the nursing literature revealed mainly US notions of cultural competence, which were based on a private health care insurance system rather than a universal health care system of equitable, accessible and non-discriminatory service provision, such as the NHS. A Five Steps Model of cultural competence (Quickfall 2004) was later revised to provide a theoretical framework for this research study. Data for this ethnographic study were collected during 2005-2007 with asylum applicants and community nurses within one Health Board in Scotland, using participant observation, individual, narrative and group interview methods. The data were analysed for their categorical content. The findings are presented as vignettes to highlight cultural competence issues. Three major themes emerge from the study findings, which highlight the intermediary function of community nursing. The provision of equitable, accessible and non-discriminatory services remains pertinent in the 21st century. Secondly, the cross-cultural promotion of health involves a partnership process to ensure effective communication and the negotiation of person centred care. Thirdly, the delivery of socially inclusive services requires the aiding of asylum applicant adaptation to a new host environment. This study contributes to community nursing knowledge in explaining, through synthesis of the literature and study data, a model of cultural competence for the care of asylum applicants. It also provides a set of best practice statements, which require further investigation.