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Health Care

“Columbia University School of Nursing is thrilled to have partnered with Tanenbaum in the development of a curriculum that prepares our students to be conscientious, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and culturally humble in providing the best healthcare possible for diverse groups of people regardless of their faith-based traditions and spiritual beliefs.”

Vivian Taylor, EdD
Associate Dean for Diversity and Cultural Affairs


“Caring for patients in a globalized society requires nurses who understand how to treat individuals of disparate backgrounds and religious beliefs in order to influence safe and effective care. Tanenbaum in collaboration with CUSON developed a case-based curriculum we embedded in our specialty courses  to add an additional layer of understanding and empathy. The modules are timely, give exceptional background information for faculty and suggestions for discussion. The curriculum has enhanced our open discussions of culture and religion in the classroom.”

Karen S Desjardins, DNP, MPH
Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs

Download Nursing Curriculum Documents

1. Intersections of Identity, Diversity & Health Equity in Health Care

This module guides students in examining and understanding a variety of dimensions – personal, cultural and socio-economic – that can result in disparities in health and health care and then introduce toolsets that health care providers can use to begin to effectively address health disparities.

Religion/Cultural Groups: African American, Hmong, Puerto Rican
Medical Issues: Back Pain/Pain Management, Epilepsy/Medical Adherence, Diabetes/Hypertension/Medication Adherence
Trigger Topics: Acceptance of Drugs and Procedures, Complementary and Alternative Medicine

2. Improving Religio-Cultural Competence in Patient Care

This module provides nurses with practical information to understand why religion is relevant in a health care setting and to provide tools and guidelines for successfully and appropriately addressing this vital topic with their patients.

Religion/Cultural Groups: Hindu, Buddhism, Christianity
Medical Issues: Metastatic breast cancer/pain management/hospice, congenital heart defect/surgery, stillbirth/comfort and support
Trigger Topics: Acceptance of Drugs & Procedures, Prayer & Proselytizing

3. History Taking & Physical Assessment

This module will provide participants with basic skill sets and guidelines for effectively interacting with patients around the topic of religion and offer case study discussions and role play activities to reinforce this learning.

  • Taking a Spiritual History – Introduction
    • Religion/Cultural Groups: Islam
    • Medical Issues: Gastric Cancer/Chemotherapy
    • Trigger Topics: Acceptance of Drugs & Procedures
  • Case Studies – Hygiene (Spiritual History)
    • Religion/Cultural Groups: Sikhism, Hinduism
    • Medical Issues: Dementia/Hygiene Practices, Constipation/Homecare
    • Trigger Topics: Hygiene, Observance of Holy Days & Rituals/Hygiene
  • Case Study – Modesty (Physical Assessment)
    • Religion/Cultural Groups: Islam
    • Medical Issues: Abdominal Pain/Physical Exam
    • Trigger Topics: Modesty
  • Role Play Activities (Spiritual History)
    • Religion/Cultural Groups: Chinese, Jehovah’s Witness
    • Medical Issues: Leukemia/Pain Management, Leukemia/Treatment Options
    • Trigger Topics: Acceptance of Drugs & Procedures, Blood & Blood Products

4. Pediatrics & Nursing Practice

This module presents several case studies that offer insights and recommendations on how to effectively manage challenges that emerge around the intersection of religion and pediatric care.

Religion/Cultural Groups: Judaism, Jehovah’s Witness, Mexican
Medical Issues: Brain Death/Withdrawal of Care, Sickle Cell Disease, Alcohol Toxicity/Traditional Healer
Trigger Topics: End of Life, Blood & Blood Products, Complementary & Alternative Medicine

5. Maternal Health & Nursing Practice

This module offers insights and recommendations to assist nurses in better understand the unique ways in which religion can emerge in the area of maternal health and how to respectfully managing the unique needs of religiously diverse patient populations as it relates to pregnancy and birth.

Religion/Cultural Groups: Judaism, Jehovah’s Witness
Medical Issues: Labor & Delivery, Post-partum Hemorrhaging
Trigger Topics: Observance of Holy Days & Rituals, Blood & Blood Products

6. Mental Health & Nursing Practice

This module will assist health care providers in beginning to understand the complex relationship between mental health and religion, so they can more readily identify both how religion influences a patient’s understanding of mental illness and how it impacts patients’ decision-making around treatment and management of their conditions.

Religion/Cultural Groups: Buddhism, Judaism, Latter-day Saint
Medical Issues: Bi-polar Disorder/Depression, Eating Disorders, Depression/LGBT Identity/Religion
Trigger Topics: Various

7. Pharmacology & Nursing Practice

This module offers insights and recommendations to assist nurses in effectively identifying and accommodating patients’ use of complementary and alternative medicine.

Religion/Cultural Groups: Mexican, American
Medical Issues: Lead Poisoning/Greta, Atrial Fibrillation/Ginseng
Trigger Topics: Complementary and Alternative Medicine

8. Ethics & Nursing Practice

This introductory module on medical ethics will assist health care providers in learning to understand and utilize basic ethical principles in the context of a health care setting, and offer guidelines to effectively and professionally manage situations where ethical dilemmas come into play.

  • Introduction to Conscience & Ethics
    • Religion/Cultural Groups: N/A
    • Medical Issues: N/A
    • Trigger Topics: Conscience & Conscientious Objection
  • Professionalism & Organ Donation
    • Religion/Cultural Groups: Protestant
    • Medical Issues: Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Trigger Topics: Organ Transplants & Donations
  • Religion & Ethics Case Studies
    • Religion/Cultural Groups: Pentecostal, Judaism, Hinduism
    • Medical Issues: Biliary Cirrhosis/Transplant List, Brain Death/Withdrawal of Care, Metastatic Breast Cancer/Pain Management
    • Trigger Topics: Organ Transplants & Donations, End of Life, Acceptance of Drugs & Procedures

9. Population Health & Nursing Practice

This module outlines some of the important dimensions that impact health literacy and health disparities so that students are better equipped to identify and address communication and health care access barriers experienced by their patients.

Religion/Cultural Groups: Islam
Medical Issues: Gastric Cancer/Chemotherapy/Language Access
Trigger Topics: Acceptance of Drugs & Procedures


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Nursing Curricula

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