Arabic culture: Purnell’s concept of cultural competence

Arab Culture

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The Arab civilization encompasses any state in which Arabic is the primary linguistic communication. Additionally, the bulk of Arabians are followings of Islam and the two civilizations are intertwined. Because there is no 1 particular Arab civilization, this paper is focused on the pleasant gentleman that I interviewed and his cultural background as the boy of immigrant Iraqi Arabs. This paper will turn to the 12 spheres of the Purnell construct of cultural competency. It will besides measure five countries of nursing attention for the interviewee. A sum-up of my ain cultural competence re-evaluation is besides included in this paper.


E.A. is a first coevals American, the boy of immigrants from Iraq. Raised in a place that followed the Torahs of Islam and long held Iraqi traditions, E.A. has deep regard for the land of his male parent, while encompassing the fact that he is an American citizen. E.A.’s parents migrated from Iraq in the early 80’s to prosecute concern ownership in America. As a consequence of this migration, E.A. was able to go to college and gain a grade in computing machine scientific discipline, something that would hold been impossible in Iraq. His parents are successful concern proprietors, runing a little motel. E.A. plants for the authorities as a systems analyst and earns adequate money for his married woman to be a full clip homemaker and female parent to their 3 kids.

Language, communicating, and names

E.A.’s parents are fluid in Iraqi Arabic, and English. E.A. is of class fluent in those linguistic communications every bit good. “When I was turning up, we spoke Arabic at place. In America, I speak English, but still Arabic at my father’s home” ( E.A. , personal communicating, 2014 ) . He goes on to associate that the usage of Arabic is more than merely out of sentimental grounds. “The Quran is in Arabic, our relations still in Iraq speak Arabic, and our usage of Arabic keeps our civilization alive” ( E.A. , personal communicating, 2014 ) .

Arabs topographic point accent on different facets of linguistic communication in relation to our usage of English. For illustration, in a western conversation, if person spoke repetitively, they might be considered long-winded or viewed in a negative visible radiation. In Arabic, repeat is positive and enhances the description of the topic. Arabic is portion of a civilization based strongly in unwritten traditions and therefore a talkers end is to prosecute the imaginativeness and feelings of those being spoken to. This means that the talker may utilize metaphors that appear inordinate to western ears, but are indispensable to the unwritten traditions of the Arabic linguistic communication. Arabic will focus on on a graphic illustration to do a point alternatively of citing facts and figures ( Zaharna, 1995 ) .

Arabic names and calling conventions vary greatly by faith ( Islam vs. Christian ) , location ( Iraq vs. Iran for illustration ) , and western influences. Arab appellative conventions use “Ism” or personal name in combination with “laqab” or family name, and may include a patronymic or a “nisbah” or family name that implies an ancestor’s folk of beginning ( Appleton, 2003 ) . For illustration, an Arabic version of my name might be Jon ibn Jon al-Jackson ( Jon, boy of John, from Jackson ) . Another version might be Jon ibn John al-Rashid ( Jon, boy of John the justly guided ) .

Family functions and organisation

The traditional Arab household spans 3 or more coevalss in the family. “My family consists of my female parent and male parent, my married woman, three boies, and myself” ( E.A. , personal communicating, 2014 ) . This drawn-out construction enhances household stableness through its support systems, both physical and psychological, particularly in times of demand. Much like other civilizations, Arab households respect their seniors and keep them in high respect. Aged parents are respected based on their experience and the hierarchy of the household. Children regard the attention of their parents as a gift from God instead than a load. Children are taught from an early age to esteem their seniors and submit to their determinations. Arab kids are taught to ne’er move in a mode that will convey shame or shame upon the household.

Lifestyle and work force issues

In Arab civilization, the place is the centre of household life and societal life. An Arab host will offer the best nutrient and comfy seating to his invitee, out of regard. The Arab place is a beginning of great pride and the household will all enterprise to do the place attractive and inviting.

Dedication to work is tempered by the sense of trueness to household and to God. E.A. true struggles to run into the demands of working full clip with staying by his spiritual beliefs and the importance of household. “I give my trueness to my male parent, my religion to Allah, and my perspiration to my employer” ( E.A. , personal communicating, 2014 ) .

Bad behaviours

Lifestyle upsets have become the taking cause of early decease among Arabs, alternatively of infective diseases. Heart disease and shot are the prima causes of early decease and are attributed to the tendency towards a western life style among the population. Changes in diet, exercising wonts, and callings all contribute to a greater hazard for wellness issues, with bosom disease accounting for over 14 % of all deceases ( Deccan Chronicle, 2014 ) . E.A. considers himself healthy, reports no allergic reactions, and takes Tylenol on occasion. He refers to himself as an American of Iraqi heritage. E.A.’s Islamic religion forbids the ingestion of intoxicant or recreational drugs, nevertheless the occasional usage of a narghile to smoke flavored baccy is allowed, particularly when socialising with friends.

Meaning of nutrient, common nutrient and rites, dietetic patterns, nutrition lacks, and nutrient restrictions

Food is evidently of import in the Arab place, playing a cardinal function in socialisation and even worship. For illustration, Muslim Arabs will predate nutrient during the Islamic spiritual observation known as Ramadan. During the month long observation, participants will fast from Sun up until Suns down. They will devour no nutrient or drink during this clip. The household will fix a munificent repast to be consumed together at sunset each twenty-four hours. “Some of my earliest memories are of Ramadan. I can retrieve believing that sundown would ne’er get, and the whole clip I could smell roast meat and fresh staff of life in the oven. When we eventually did eat, it was genuinely a celebration” ( E.A. , personal communicating, 2014 ) . Islamic dietetic jurisprudence has a direct consequence on what types of nutrient can be prepared and eaten every bit good. For illustration, no porc or porc merchandises may be consumed. Alcohol of any sort is prohibited, including intoxicant used as a dissolver in such things as nutrient colouring ( Heine, 2004 ) . Stallion web sites are dedicated to assisting followings identify nutrients that are approved and safe to eat.

The Arab married woman will larn to cook from her female parent, and will accommodate traditional formulas to modern demands and available ingredients. Some formulas are simplified to cut down readying clip so that the married woman may hold clip for other activities.

Common nutrients that can be found in an Arab larder include: lamb and mouton, which are favored over beef, which is more expensive. Arabs populating in coastal locations will add many sorts of fish ( but non shellfish, which are prohibited ) to their diet as good. Milk will be made into yoghurt or fresh cheeses to be made into sweets or spread on staff of life. Rice and murphies are basics every bit good. An interesting fact is that the type of oil used in the readying of nutrient can frequently place the formulas state of beginning. For illustration, Lebanese cooks use olive oil or clarified butter, while Saudi Arabian cooks prefer ghee, which is derived from caprine animal milk ( Heine, 2004 ) . Olives, nuts, raisins, chick peas, and toasted Cucurbita pepo seeds are about ever present as appetisers before a repast. Pickled veggies and fresh leafy vegetables are besides consumed. Bread is besides really of import to the Arab diet and is present at every repast.

Pregnancy and childbirth patterns

There are many traditions observed by pregnant Arab adult females. These traditions range from particular supplications to eating certain nutrients. Most, but non all of these traditions derive from Islam, since the bulk of Arab adult females pattern this faith. Pregnant Arab adult females recite duas, or supplications aloud every forenoon on the belief they will keep a healthy gestation and avoid abortion ( Lee, 2014 ) . Some will read the full Quran aloud during their gestation. As an Arabic adult female ‘s gestation progresses, she performs different traditional Acts of the Apostless. These Acts of the Apostless include declaiming supplications while blowing on her tummy, eating Punica granatum on Fridays, and forbearing from devouring spicy nutrients.

Most Arab adult females will merely let female health care forces to help with antenatal attention, every bit good as labour and bringing. It is besides really common for merely female household members to be present at the child’s birth. In some Arab states, work forces are forbidden from being present in the bringing room by jurisprudence ( Lee, 2014 ) . E.A. was present at the births of all three of his kids, and did non object to holding a male OB physician, but had female nurses present at the bringing every bit good.

Death rites

“I can retrieve when my grandma was in infirmary. I knew she was really sick, but it was ne’er talked about. Alternatively we prayed that the will of Allah would be made known to us” ( E.A. , personal communicating, 2014 ) . Arabs will non discourse an at hand decease openly, but will typically postpone to the caput of the household as to when and how to advise the remainder of the household ( Lipson, Dibble, & A ; Minarik, 1996 ) . Sometimes younger adult females will non be allowed to be with a deceasing or deceased household member. The Quran is read after decease, but ne’er earlier. The household will bespeak to rinse the asleep after decease, and entombment is completed rapidly, normally before the following sundown.

Spiritualty, and proviso of attention through autochthonal practicians

E.A. is a follower of Islam. “I am a spiritual individual every bit far as that I believe in Allah and his will steer my life” ( E.A. , personal communicating, 2014 ) . The lone thing needed to pray is the heart-felt purpose to pray, a clean organic structure, and a clean topographic point to pray. A prayer carpet is optional. Moslems have five formal supplication times each twenty-four hours. The times for these supplications are spaced equally throughout the twenty-four hours. The supplication times are before morning, at midday, in the late afternoon, merely after sunset, and in the eventide ( Huda, 2014 ) .

E.A. and his household have openly embraced western medical specialty for all facets of their health care. “I steadfastly believe that Allah has provided the cognition of medical specialty and divine physicians and nurses so why non embracing that gift from Him” ( E.A. , personal communicating, 2014 ) ? There are facets of Arab/Muslim religion that are faith based and include such things as “prophetic medicine” , which are derived from the words of the Prophet Mouhammed. Another is a system based on a humoral theory of wet/dry, the usage of herbal redresss, and the usage of traditional physicians known as Hakims ( Barnes, 2001 ) .


E.A. contributed a wealth of information to me sing the Arab civilization. It is of import to retrieve as a health professional that sensitiveness to any civilizations demands is paramount to supplying the best attention possible. Areas of cultural concern when caring for an Arab patient include:

  • Understanding the household construction and the importance of the trueness and trust placed in the household patriarch.
  • Awareness of possible dietetic limitations, including fasting that may interfere with medicine disposal.
  • Patient fondness to same sex health professionals in the health care environment.
  • Suiting household petitions to supply or help with post-mortem attention of their asleep relation.
  • Potential petitions to suit religions based intercessions from traditional therapists utilizing supplication, herbal redresss, and religion in prophetic medical specialty.

I completed the cultural competence quiz a 2nd clip after finishing this paper. I am happy to state that my mark improved based in portion by some of the information I learned from E.A. while fixing this paper. One of the most interesting and applicable things I learned was the data format and construction of a traditional Arab name. By educating myself about the construction of a name, I gained an penetration into the power that a household patriarch exercises over his household, to the point that his kids will hold his name as their ain in a mode that to me is much deeper and meaningful than merely a family name. Add in that a person’s name may include where they are from and it starts to do even more sense why the Middle East contains some countries that are passionately contested and defended by its dwellers.


Appleton, D. ( 2003 ) . Period Arabic Names and Naming Practices ( 2nd edition ) . Retrieved September 30, 2014.

Barnes, L. ( 2001 ) . Islam and Healing: Practices. Retrieved September 30, 2014, from hypertext transfer protocol: // # Background

Deccan Chronicle. ( 2014, January 20 ) . Lifestyle upsets top wellness issues in Arab universe. Retrieved September 30, 2014, from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Heine, P. ( 2004 ) .Food civilization in the Near East, Middle East, and North Africa. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press.

Huda, E. ( 2014 ) . 5 Times Muslims Observe Formal Prayer Each Day. Retrieved September 30, 2014, from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Lee, M. ( 2014 ) . Traditions of Pregnant Arab Women. Retrieved September 30, 2014, from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Lipson, J. , Dibble, S. , & A ; Minarik, P. ( 1996 ) .Culture and Nursing Care: A Pocket Guide. The Regents.

Zaharna, R. ( 1995 ) . Bridging Cultural Differences: American Public Relations Practices & A ; Arab Communication Patterns.Public Relations Review, 21, 241-255.


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