A qualitative study exploring nurses' experiences of supporting South Asian people with dementia and their family carers

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    Aims: To explore nurses’ experiences of providing support to South Asian people with dementia and their family carers and to identify barriers and enablers of good transcultural care.

    Design: A qualitative, phenomenological design was used.

    Methods: Fifteen registered community and in-patient nurses were recruited via one NHS Mental Health Foundation Trust. Nurses were from diverse backgrounds, (Black, Ghanaian, Irish, Mauritian and White), 13 female and two male, and had been qualified from between two and 49 years. One-to-one semi-structured interviews were conducted between July-October 2019.

    Results: A thematic analysis identified three themes. ‘Communication challenges’ highlighted the impact of language barriers and consequences of misunderstandings due to a dissonance in cultural values between nurses and interpreters. ‘The bi-directional impact of culture’ identified the two-way dynamics of transcultural work, the process of countering mutual stigma, and revealed an original perspective on how ‘cultural desire’ grows through practice experiences rather than being a prior motivation for learning. ‘Learning experiences’ showed that most learning was informal, experiential and prolonged, with nurses feeling they had unmet learning needs.

    Conclusion: Nurses have minimal training opportunities and are under-supported in their transcultural work, potentially perpetuating the disadvantages that South Asian people with dementia and their families face in relation to healthcare. Enhanced cultural understanding of self and others and application of specific communication strategies could support nurses, together with interpreters, to build rapport and effective working relationships with each other and service-users.
    Impact: Transcultural nursing is a key competency, but nurses experience difficulties with providing care which is recognised as effective by South Asian family carers. The development of more acceptable and effective services requires improved mutual cultural understanding between nurses, interpreters and families, underpinned by joint brief training interventions, leading to more effective professional communication, better care outcomes and improved satisfaction with services.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 10 Jul 2023


    • Qualitative
    • thematic analysis
    • nurses
    • experiences
    • transcultural
    • carer support
    • interpreters
    • communication
    • training


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