Transcultural Nurses Essential for Sustainable Healthcare

By Amanda Winstead

Sustainability must be a priority in all industries. This is not just from the perspective of the direct impact of production and operational methods. The relationships industries have with the community are also vital to achieving high sustainability standards. The healthcare sector is no different in this regard.

Frontline workers in the medical field play a key role in various aspects of health communication. As the link between the industry and service users, they’re also in the ideal position to impact sustainability efforts. This is particularly the case for transcultural nurses. Their skills are instrumental in making deeper connections with communities.

Let’s take a moment to examine some of the reasons transcultural nurses are essential to sustainability in healthcare.

What is Transcultural Nursing?

Transcultural nursing refers to medical professionals who incorporate knowledge of patients’ cultural backgrounds into their care. This is a vital component in an increasingly diverse population where such aspects have an impact on how patients approach wellness. Nurses who can understand and navigate these aspects have a better chance of forming positive connections with not just individuals but communities.

It’s important to recognize that transcultural nursing applies across a broad variety of areas. It’s not just the more obvious racial and national backgrounds. Age, socioeconomic background, educational level, even immigration status can affect care approaches. Indeed, the nuances of these identifiers can have knock-on effects in other areas of concern.

Among these areas is the healthcare industry’s ability to be sustainable. Each of the background elements addressed by transcultural nurses can also influence how effective environmental efforts can be. Meaningful change requires education, commitment, and oftentimes motivation. These culturally knowledgeable and agile healthcare workers assist patients in making decisions that directly and indirectly foster the kinds of actions that are good for the health of the planet.

Transcultural Nurses Essential for Sustainable Healthcare
Photo by Laura James from Pexels

Underserved Communities

When there are issues within society, the underserved communities are often the first to suffer. The members of these marginalized communities also tend to suffer disproportionately in comparison with more privileged and centralized cultural groups. This is certainly something we’ve seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the key characteristics of transcultural nurses here is they have the potential to help redress the imbalance of access and engagement.

While this is important from an ethical and practical perspective, it’s also an influencer of sustainability. When people recognize transcultural nurses as a trusted source of support, it can make patients more willing to utilize such resources. This, in turn, can result in an earlier intervention of illness. The result is a reduced need for more serious treatments and surgeries that use greater finite resources, expend more energy, and produce more medical waste.

The outreach to these underserved communities also serves ethical purposes with sustainable results. In many cases, nurses committed to such in-depth cultural engagement will make recommendations about treatments with the patient’s nuanced needs as a priority. This can mean they’re not prescribing based on business relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

The result can be a cumulative reduction of environmentally harmful production. Indeed, nurses with knowledge of how communities are being damaged by manufacturing may be more inclined to recommend medications by sustainable pharmacology providers.

Cultural Challenges

In many ways, the core role of a transcultural nurse is to act as a cultural bridge between communities and the healthcare industry. They are dedicated to becoming the trusted professional who recognizes and respects the cultural perspectives of different members of the community. In gaining a greater understanding of these varying values they can find appropriate solutions to the conscious and unconscious obstacles in the path of effective, equal, and sustainable access to healthcare.

From a sustainability perspective, it’s worth considering how important the role can be in recommending greener medical practices to those who would not normally see the value in them. There are certainly cultural demographics whose politics, age, and personal beliefs affect the decisions they make on such issues. Making inroads to these communities and communicating with empathy about such patients’ positions, can mean transcultural nurses assist in more informed decision making.

It’s not just about deeply held opinions, either. The overreliance on harsh and heavily manufactured medications for every ailment is at its heart a cultural problem. Transcultural nurses may be able to work with patients reliant on pills to enlighten them to the presence of natural and green alternatives. Even opioid addiction in itself can be addressed through a combination of meditation, mindfulness, and therapy. This also has the benefit of being simple to introduce into daily routines even when patients haven’t tried it before.

Health Education

Transcultural nurses are an essential part of public health initiatives. This is probably most important from the viewpoint of providing basic health education. Those speaking languages other than English, refugees, or people living in rural communities may not always have the best access to up-to-date and clear health education. Transcultural nurses are almost above all else a gateway to inclusive and reliable wellness information.

This is ultimately key to sustainable healthcare, too. Transcultural nurses can gain early access to knowledge of green medical practices and provide immediate education to communities in a relatable, digestible, and meaningful way. These nurses have helped to educate their target communities more accurately and reassuringly about vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, their reputation for trustworthy and practical guidance can translate to greater uptake of sustainable medical methodologies.

Technological Transition

Technology is one of the primary positive tools in medicine today. Medical professionals often have a role in making certain the right technology can be used to impact their patients’ health. Transcultural nurses, in particular, operate as both users of this technology and advocates of it to members of communities that may have doubts and concerns. We often find this in members of older populations or socioeconomic backgrounds with perhaps less access to advanced technology.

This is a vital consideration in sustainable healthcare, too. Telemedicine is not only an incredible tool for inclusive medical treatment, but it also reduces gas consumption and harmful emissions from transport to medical appointments. Fewer patients visiting doctors’ offices minimizes the use of chemicals in cleaning procedures and cuts the general presence of medical waste. Even patient monitoring apps can scale back on the requirement for repeat appointments.

Transcultural nurses can introduce marginalized patients to the use of these methods. They can research the most appropriate software and tools for the specific members of their community focus. This could be telemedical platforms with less bandwidth requirement for patients only able to use mobile data plans. It could even include providing security information to those patients with privacy concerns. Through this approach, transcultural nurses can make sure the sustainability potential of medical technology is achieved.


Transcultural nurses make important connections with often marginalized and underserved members of the community. While their efforts play an important ethical and inclusivity role, this can also have a significant impact on sustainability efforts. Through education, empathy, and cultural understanding they can help to make certain patients receive not just the best medical care but contribute to high environmental standards.

About the Author

Amanda Winstead is a writer focusing on many topics including technology and digital marketing. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.

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