Nursing in culturally and linguistically diverse communities

Basseer Jeeawody, Eileen Petrie

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter in textbook/reference bookpeer-review


The term culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) generally describes an individual or a group of people in relation to factors such as tradition, language, social structure, food, religion and art. llowever, it is commonly used to describe groups that are different from the English-speaking majority (DHSV Communications, 2010). Australian Indigenous peoples are not considered a part of the CALD classification. Currently there is debate as to the appropriateness of the term 'CALD' as a functional term that aims to celebrate the diversity of languages and cultures in Australia. and to what extent it is specifically describing subgroups. Other terms commonly associated with CALD communities are 'migrants', 'refugees', and 'people with non-English speaking backgrounds', although these terms have different meanings. A person whose primary language is not English is described as having a 'non-English speaking background' (NESB). 'Migrant' refers to any person who moves from one place, region or country to another, voluntarily. 'Refugees' are those people who have left their country of origin due to well-founded fears of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality or membership of a particular social or political group. An understanding of the terms 'culture' and 'diversity' is essential before considering the trends in CALD population in Australia. Giger and colleagues (2007) described culture as a learned, patterned behavioural response acquired over time that includes implicit and explicit beliefs, attitudes, values, customs, norms, taboos, arts and life ways accepted by a community of individuals. They further observed that culture is primarily learned and transmitted within the family and other social organisations, guides decisionmaking and facilitates self-worth and self-esteem (Giger et aL, 2007). Diversity, on the other hand, includes race, colour, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status, religion. age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, education, occupation and other attributes (Giger et al, 2007; Purnell & Paulanka, 2008) Given the growing multicultuwl population in Australia. CALD nursing has become an important area of professional practice. Similar to transcultural nursing, the focus is on worldwide cultures and comparative cultural caring. Other terms often used mterchangeably are cross-cultural. intercultural and multicultural nursing (Andrevvs & Boyle, 2003). Individualism and collectivism are essential concepts for consideration when understanding fundamental differences between and within cultures, and to avoid stereotyping. Nurses need to understand these differences when assessing, plannmg and implementing nursing care for individuals and communities. It is important to keep in mind that the client is the best source of relevant and appropriate information regarding her or his preferences in care. This chapter discusses trends in CALD populations in Australia and identifies some of the challenges and strategies for working with CALD communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAn introduction to community and primary health care
EditorsDiana Guzys, Eileen Petrie
Place of PublicationPort Melbourne, Australia
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781107633094
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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