African American health care beliefs
African American perception and beliefs about western healthcare professionals is influenced by different factors. With their traditional healthcare system passed over many generations, African Americans still believed in the power of other another person to heal. African Americans were healed by traditional doctors who used herbs and effectively treated their disease. This traditional belief in beinghealed by another person has been passed over from one generation to the other. However, their interaction with western healthcare systems has changed their perception of ability of other persons to health. African Americans believe that nurse serves the important role as a healer in theirlives. However, research evidence shows that there are very few African Americans joining the nursing profession and even for those who join, the rate of drop outs is higher compared with other races. Evidently, this means that African Americans hold a low view of nursing as a profession (Munoz & Luckmann, 2004).
If they had a superior view of nursing, most African Americans would be joining the profession. The low number gives evidence that African Americans could be holding a negative view of nursing as a profession and this havecontributed to low ratio of African American nurses compared to other races.
Cultural values and beliefs play a significant role in African American healthcare decision-making process (Munoz &Luckmann, 2004). Most African Americans uses their cultural and healthcare beliefs to make decision about healthcare system. With a strong family structure compared to other races, the family also plays a key role in healthcare decision making process. Although self-advocacy has been cited as a factor influencing decision making process, most African Americans generally depend on those around them to make an important healthcare decision. There are different factors considered before making an important decision about healthcare care including marital status, life experiences, income, cultural beliefs, education, and others.
This means that there are many factors at play that helps African Americans to make decision about their healthcare care (Johnson, Elbert-Avila & Tulsky, 2005). In a strong family structure, heads of the family are the prime decision makers. African Americans belief that family heads will make the most appropriate healthcare decision. This may be influenced by thatthey are likely to take care of their medical expenses and this reduces self advocacy.
African American sees end of life care as a celebration rather than end of their lives. End of life is viewed as a resting phase of life. African Americans have a strong trust in the kinship support system at the end of their lives. They have an established kinship system that offers help for the elderly and mitigates the negative experiences of life they are likely to go through during this phase of life. The beliefs and practices of most African Americans are likely to differ from the general practices for other communities in the United States (Crawley & Payne, 2007). They are also less likely to enrol for hospice services or receive appropriate end of life symptom management. At the same time, African Americans have a higher likelihood of receiving aggressive treatment including artificial nutrition and hospitalization. They are also likely to stop hospice care and consequently seek life-prolonging treatment. This is likely to be contributed by different factors including access to health care services and general trust and distrust in western healthcare practices. This is also likely to be contributed by their preference for traditional healers or African American qualified medical professionals who theycan trust. Generally, the kinship systems play a greater role in mitigating the impact of lack of life care (Johnson et al., 2005).