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This page forms part of the Transcultural Health resource, published in 2004, and is preserved as a historical document for reference purposes only. Some information contained within it may no longer refer to current practice. More information

Transcultural Health Care Practice: An educational resource for nurses and health care practitioners

Editors: Charles Husband and Bren Torry

(All modules published 2004)

Introduction to the materials

Dr Nola Ishmael OBE

Every decade the Census gives us information on the number of the different racial groups residing in United kingdom. Planners and policy makers begin to map the resulting future health needs of the population taking account of the implications and ramifications that transpire as a result of this information.   This information, though very important, does not tell us how we should care for our patients and clients from different racial backgrounds.  

This know-how is obtained from elsewhere.  Sometimes as a result of knowledge accumulated over time, sometimes from dated articles and text relating to culture, race and diversity which appear in the professional journals and books.  More likely these days from the world wide web.  It was because of these facts that between 1999 and 2003 that a group of individuals drew on their professional knowledge and expertise and together produced the materials which formed this resource which focuses on the transcultural nursing needs of patients and clients. 

It is to be acknowledged that time has moved on.  Policies have changed and systems have improved.  Notwithstanding this, each module of the materials has useful and valuable information which still informs practice and has relevance which can be applied to knowledge bases ten years on. For example to name one module – the foundation module by Anionwu, Sookhoo and Adams should be required reading if only for the definitions it contains on culture, cultural diversity, race and diversity. 

In 2004 the materials were entrusted to the Royal College of Nursing by the Department of Health be placed on the RCN website where nurses and other practitioners could gain easy access to the information to inform their practice and knowledge bases.  It is noteworthy that a decade after they were written the materials is still accessed by generations of nurses and other practitioners. They continue to provide clarity and understanding on transcultural issues thereby bridging a knowledge gap and benefiting nurses, patients and practitioners. 

Charles Husband and Bren Torry who led the original work to bring these modules to reality reminded us in their initial introduction that whilst the Royal College of Nursing retains the copyright on these materials to protect them from inappropriate misuse, that some legal authority allows the Royal College of Nursing to permit individual users the right to exploit these materials for their own professional development, or to facilitate their activities in training and teaching others.  

These materials are available FREE TO THE USER and are intended to be ASSET STRIPPED.  Users may download whole modules or sections in order to facilitate their own learning: or, in order to do a scissors and paste job in integrating them into their own teaching materials or training pack.  There is no limit on how extensive this might be in each case.  This is a function of the individual’s needs and creativity. 

What is required is that if the user reproduces or disseminates all or part of the materials for their own purposes is that they explicitly acknowledge the material’s authorship and origin.  In other words there is no financial constraint on the use of these materials; the user merely should not pass them off as your own. individuals are, in fact, encouraged to exploit these materials. 

The decision to disseminate the materials in this way and with this ethos had, of course, a direct impact upon how the whole programme was structured.  The individual modules have been planned to be free standing, self-contained texts, and to be complementary and discursive modules that will help the practitioner to more adequately contextualize their practice.  To some extent these six ‘framing’ modules allow the reader to follow-up in more depth some of the issues raised in practice modules. It is for those who access the information to build on and include the newest legislation and policy advancements.

Figure 1 below outlines this structure:

Contextual diagram