Culture Of The Nacirema In Modern Healthcare

As the pace of changes in the contemporary health care sector is considerably rapid, there is always a risk of knowledge gaps’ occurrence for all professionals. That is why it is highly essential to assist health care providers in developing their competencies for its further maintenance in order to advance professional nursing practice and facilitate achievements of both career and academic goals. In addition, it is necessary to understand what challenged nurses face on a daily basis and the significance of lifesaving and critical knowledge for them. For a hospital’s success, all possible errors that may occur in practice should be mitigated to prevent risks to patients. Moreover, a particular time between an employee’s hiring and the moment when he or she starts to work productively due to appropriately received guidelines and instructions is shortened by a certain specialist.

It goes without saying that constant development and improvement in the health care sector is immeasurably important for quality health care delivery and patients’ positive outcomes. That is why individual researches dedicated to the evolution of health care or the examination of other scholars’ researches should be conducted periodically in order to assess the progress and evaluate the ways of enhancement. As a matter of fact, considerable positive changes in western health care may be observed in the present day in comparison with ancient times or other cultures, however, particular similarities are impossible to deny as well. For instance, the part of the culture of the Nacirema related to health and medicine that was described by Miner (1956) contributes to multiple reflections.

First of all, there are multiple concepts, guidelines, procedures, and skills of this North American group that differ from traditional health care and its principles promoted across the globe for people’s well-being. First of all, the human body is not regarded as ugly with diseases as natural processes (Miner, 1956). Health remains a highly essential part of productive life and various health conditions inevitably affect its quality, however, symbiotic relationships between health, spirituality, faith, fate, and morality have lost their significance. Another considerable difference is the attitude of the Nacirema to treatment and other ways of health improvement. While the members of this group defined masochistic and sadistic medical practices as a norm, in the modern health care system, beneficence and nonmaleficence are the main elements of nursing ethics.

In addition, the roles of nurses and other health care providers are no longer regarded as unconditionally supreme, as education, training, competence, the obtaining of professional skills, and constant improvement have become immeasurably important. While the practices of the Nacirema’s medicine men frequently did not cure and even killed patients, these facts did not decrease people’s beliefs, respect, and trust to these specialists. In the present day, patients’ well-being is impossible without nurses’ professionalism, and their training and education may be regarded as the basis of efficient health care delivery.

At the same time, regardless of all differences, there are several similarities between the practices of the Nacirema and modern health care providers. For instance, medicine men understood the significance of analyses, assistance in health care, and the exceptional role of health care providers that prevails over secrecy. In addition, the process of medicine administration in this group resembles a contemporary one when physicians frequently wrote in “an ancient and secret language” understood only by other physicians and pharmacists (Miner, 1956, p. 4). These findings provide particular specialists with information for its implementation in practice in order to improve nurses’ skills and health care delivery in general.


Miner, H. (1956). Body ritual among the Nacirema. American Anthropologist, 58(3), 503-507.