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Fostering Religio-Cultural Competence in Nursing

Dear Friends,

On July 19-20, 2018, Tanenbaum convened a number of nursing educators from across the United States, to discuss our new nursing curriculum, Fostering Religio-Cultural Competence in Nursing. This curriculum was created and piloted in partnership with Columbia University School of Nursing’s Masters Direct Entry (MDE) Program to address a gap in nursing education in relation to religious and cultural competence. The event was well attended, with representatives from 16 nursing schools, and 34 attendees overall, including nursing educators, practicing nurses, and people generally involved in health care and health education.

Our speakers at the event, Dr. Vivian Taylor, Associate Dean of Diversity and Cultural Affairs at Columbia University School of Nursing, Dr. Karen Desjardins, Associate Professor and Director of the MDE Program at Columbia University School of Nursing, and our Deputy CEO, Mark Fowler discussed the challenges and opportunities encountered when creating and implementing the curriculum. They further discussed the opportunities for new nurses to have this training in advance of seeing patients. We fulfilled one goal of the Symposium through conversations, garnering feedback on the curriculum content and gaining advice on how to organize the material to attract interest from, and better serve, nursing education programs when the curriculum is made available to the public.

This symposium is the culmination of a 4-year effort spearheaded by Tanenbaum and CUSON staff to create and organize a nursing curriculum on religio-cultural competence that is accessible and easily incorporated into existing nursing programs and class syllabi. The symposium guests responded well to the curriculum, many underlining the necessity of better education and training when it comes to interacting with and treating patients of unfamiliar religious and cultural backgrounds.

Other insights included:

“Great people, awesome organization, and insightful lecturers”

“This conference far exceeded my expectations. I am excited and motivated to begin a new academic year with a new skill set (although I still have much to learn)”

“[The curriculum] seems very thorough”

“It seems very accurate and comprehensive, it’s good to have lots of case studies”

“[I am] really pleased with the material”

We also received some guidance on how to expand the curriculum’s impact by perhaps, making it more concise, breaking up the curriculum thematically rather than by specialty, making the questions more open-ended, both for students and patients, and for certain case studies, including more background information and context.

Overall the Nursing Symposium was a success! The feedback we received was much appreciated and will help guide our next steps as we move this curriculum forward so we can soon make it available to all nursing schools and nursing education programs. We are very excited to continue this project and our effort to ensure that patients of all religious and cultural backgrounds are treated equally and with respect.

Warm regards,

The Tanenbaum Health Care Team

Patient Safety Awareness Week 2018

March 11th marked the beginning of 2018’s Patient Safety Awareness Week, sponsored by the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) in cooperation with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). This year, Patient Safety Awareness Week focuses on safety culture and patient engagement, a cause that Tanenbaum wholeheartedly supports. At Tanenbaum, we believe that patients cannot be safe and engaged if they face religious discrimination and bias in health care settings. As our contribution to Patient Safety Awareness Week, we would like to take this opportunity to discuss some small, but meaningful ways that providers can better understand and communicate with patients.

Currently, in health care settings, religion and spirituality are components of patient care that are frequently overlooked or ignored. This is largely because providers don’t think it’s relevant to patient care, except for in end-of-life contexts, or they don’t feel comfortable broaching this topic with patients and their families. Yet, formal religious affiliations and/or spiritual beliefs and practices are often very important to patients and their families. If conversations regarding religion and spirituality don’t take place between patients and providers, providers could miss an integral piece of the puzzle, and miss an opportunity to better connect with and treat patients.

When conducting a spiritual history, we recognize that many health care professionals are pressed for time, so instead of asking a number of detailed questions about a patient’s religious or spiritual beliefs, we suggest that you ask one more comprehensive question, which is “Do you have any religious or spiritual concerns related to your health that you would like me to know about?” This question addresses any immediate concerns a patient or provider might have about religion and spirituality, and makes the patient feel more comfortable discussing these issues with their provider. If the patient doesn’t have any immediate concerns, it is important to revisit the issue as your relationship with that patient progresses.

In order to combat religious discrimination and provide more patient centered care, providers should strive to open pathways of communication with their patients, to build trust and establish stronger relationships between patients and providers. It is important to note that not all religious discrimination is conscious and overt; in fact, it is more likely that the prejudice patients encounter is unconscious, stemming from ingrained attitudes and assumptions that manifest through behaviors. Communication is one of the best tools a provider has to break down barriers and stereotypes that can negatively impact patient care.

For example, when speaking with a patient or co-worker, it is important to listen actively. If you are already constructing what you will say next, that means you’ve stopped listening. In order to be a more effective health care professional and a more respectful co-worker, remember to listen to what the other person is saying, wait until they are done making their point, and take time to construct ta response so you are not responding from a place of anger or defensiveness.

Safety culture and patient engagement are important steps in building a more inclusive and productive health care system. If you are a provider or health care professional and are looking for more communication tips that will allow you to have more effective conversations with your patients, clients, or coworkers we have compiled a list of Tips for Respectful Communication and information on how to conduct Spiritual Histories.

Have a happy and healthy Patient Safety Awareness Week!

Warm regards,

The Tanenbaum Health Care Team

Religion & End of Life Care – Health Care Insights

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the fourth installment of Tanenbaum’s Health Care Insights series!

This month’s issue features what might be one of the most challenging subjects for health care providers: upholding religious beliefs while delivering end of life care.

  • The Scenario: A Jewish family objects to a DNR order for a patient who is brain stem dead, based on a religious belief that death only occurs when a patient’s heart and breathing have stopped.
  • Click here to learn about the family’s objection and its religious context, and how the hospital can respectfully manage this objection by working with the family and their religious leader.

For additional case studies from our medical school curriculum, click here. To learn more about the intersections of religion and health care, check out Tanenbaum’s full Medical Manual, which can be purchased here. (Contact us for discounted bulk and institutional purchase rates for the eBook version.)

In friendship,

Joyce S. Dubensky
CEO

Dietary Restrictions & Health Care Resources

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the second installment of Tanenbaum’s new Health Care Insights series!

Each Health Care Insight will present a challenging scenario that sometimes arises in health care, and a download link to information from our Medical School Curriculum, where you will find context about the religious practice involved and better practices for health care providers.

This month’s blog post features religion, dietary restrictions and the impact on health care:

  • The Scenario: The son of an 85-year-old Hindu woman suffering from dementia is extremely upset, when he walks into his mother’s hospital room and finds her eating a meatball.
  • Click here to learn about how the mother’s and son’s religious beliefs influenced this encounter, and some better practices that health care providers can use to avoid or manage this type of situation.

For additional case studies from our medical school curriculum, click here. To learn more about the intersections of religion and health care, Tanenbaum’s full Medical Manual can be purchased here. (Contact us for discounted bulk and institutional purchase rates for the eBook version.)

In friendship,

Joyce S. Dubensky

Conscientious Refusals – New Fact Sheet Available!

Tanenbaum’s new Conscientious Refusals Fact Sheet is now online!
Religiously-motivated conscientious refusals to provide services in the workplace have increasingly become a topic for debate. From the 2014 Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case, to health care providers who believe providing abortions violates their faith, to federal employees who object to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, religiously motivated conscientious refusals are invoked by employees who work in a variety of industries and come from a wide range of religious backgrounds.
Our Conscientious Refusals Fact Sheet provides an overview of the types of conscientious refusals that are most frequently emerging in different workplaces (i.e., health care, government, religious and a range of businesses) as well as better practices for both employers and employees who are looking to address their own or others’ conscientious refusals.

Free Tanenbaum Medical School Curriculum

TriggerTopicsDid you know 84% of the U.S. population identifies as religious?

Did you know that this has significant impact on the health care decisions of patients and families?

Did you ever wonder how physicians can better address this topic with their patients?

To help answer these questions, Tanenbaum released today two free, downloadable training resources for medical educators.

Religious and Cultural Competence for Medical Students: Advancing Patient-Centered Care includes two self-contained 90-minute class/sessions:

Last month we released Improving Patient Care through Religious and Cultural Competence: A Training Program for Residents, a curriculum that provides more extensive resources and addresses even more topics including:

  • Culture & Mental Health: The impact of Religion on Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Professionalism: When Religion, Conscience and Health Care Clash
  • Health Disparities for LGBT Youth: The Role of Religion
  • Religion and Culture in an Outpatient Clinic Setting

Click here to download the free resource Religious and Cultural Competence for Medical Students: Advancing Patient-Centered Care.

Click here to learn more about and purchase Tanenbaum’s training program for residents.

Please share this information with your colleagues and networks.

If you have any questions, email healthcare@Tanenbaum.org or call 212.967.7707.

Religious and Cultural Competence for Medical Students: Advancing Patient-Centered Care was made possible with the generous support of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and the Louis and Rachel Rudin Foundation. The comprehensive residency program, Improving Patient Care through Religious and Cultural Competence: A Training Program for Residents, was made possible with the generous support of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations.