Nursing in Haiti : LUSENET : Transcultural Nursing : One Thread

I have been wishing that more nurses would find this forum and that we could exchange notes. I have been to Haiti the past two years, once for two weeks and once for six weeks. Would be interested in hearing other's experiences with this culture as well as other cultures.

-- diane (, October 02, 2001


Greetings Diane,

The purpose of the forum is to provide a place for discussion of topics of particular interest to Transcultural Nursing. Thanks to your participation, the Transcultural Nursing Format QA forum will grow into a valuable resource. We want you to find here one of the friendliest and knowledgeable community on the Internet. My idea was/is to build a repository for authoritative advice and experience on which nurses can draw. The site statistics show a vast cultural diversity of visitors and the e-mail requests for information and questions we receive support the need for such a forum. We have been to Dajabón, Dominican Republic and crossed the border into Haiti to set up a clinic for one week. This was a very remote area with great political turmoil and little to no resources. These are experiences that challenge our worldview and gives us a new perspective, the beginning of understanding. Those of us that have experienced different cultures have gained a unique perspective, a peek inside a different worldview. A facet of epidemiology we do not ordinarily encounter in western medicine, but very common in Hatian culture, is that of the causative agent being another person and not a microbe. The idea of making some one ill by the use of witch craft, voodoo or some other form of magic is unusual and not taken seriously within the constraints of traditional western health care and world view. If we were to study the cultural perceptions of health and illness of Hatians we would need some knowledge of a belief in magic. Having experienced and lived in the environment that fosters the use of these agents we begin to understand the -why- A "hex", in the minds of those who still believe and practice so called primitive health beliefs, is as real as the bacteria and viruses of western medicine are to health care providers. The concepts of "soul loss", "spells", "possession" are rarely discussed or described in nursing education, yet these contribute greatly to the perception of the cause of a certain disease.

No matter what our belief system, as nurses we need to keep an open mind if we hope to provide meaningful care to a patient who retains these or other beliefs different from ours.

So, what is your take on this perspective?


-- Victor (, October 13, 2001.

I am from Haiti and also a Registered Nurse. It makes it very hard to teach people from my own culture because of the strong belief in VOODOO and spells. They sometimes tell me that i am forgetting my roots when i start teaching them on different health issues. Maybe there is someone else going through the same dilemma.

-- Rouandy Pascal (, June 15, 2002.

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