Career Definition of a Transcultural Nurse
Transcultural nurses strive to build bridges between healthcare workers and people of different faiths and cultures. Some work overseas and provide healthcare to people in different countries while others focus on treating immigrants in the United States. They may work in any kind of medical environment, such as a hospital, doctor's office or clinic.
A big part of their job is finding an effective way to communicate with patients and their family members. They also help other medical professionals understand the patient's values and cultural beliefs and how they may affect the patient's approach to healthcare. In some cases a person's illness may be affected by cultural practices and the transcultural nurse determines if that's the case. Their ultimate goal is to be able to effectively provide necessary healthcare without infringing on a person's beliefs. They also strive to learn about how people from different cultures view different health practices so that they can have a better understanding of potential health issues that people from that culture may experience. They may also find that there are specific beliefs or values people have that help them integrate healthcare practices into their life more effectively.
|Educational Requirements||Diploma, associate's degree or bachelor's degree, license, certification|
|Job Skills||Patience, creativity, problem-solving skills, compassion, attention to detail, communication skills, interpersonal skills, tact, cultural awareness|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$68,450 (all registered nurses)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||15% (all registered nurses)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The first step in pursuing a career as a transcultural nurse involves becoming a registered nurse. Graduating from an accredited nursing program is required and registered nurses must have a diploma, associate's degree or bachelor's degree in nursing. They also need to have a nursing license. Certification is not required to be a transcultural nurse but it may increase job prospects because those who are certified will have appropriate knowledge and skills for this role. Although being bilingual isn't required it may be an asset if aspiring transcultural nurses acquire foreign language skills. Those who earn a bachelor's degree may opt to pursue graduate studies and complete advanced certification in transcultural nursing.
Transcultural nurses need to have tact and sensitivity to ensure that they do not appear disapproving of a patient's beliefs or cultural practices. It is important that they have strong communication skills because they serve as a bridge between their patients and doctors and other nurses. Transcultural nurses may need to be creative and have strong problem-solving skills to find ways to effectively communicate if there is a language barrier.
Career Outlook and Salary
Transcultural nurses are not listed separately on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website. They are included with the listing for all registered nurses. The BLS reported that registered nurses took home a median income of $68,450 per year in 2016. Over the ten-year period from 2016 to 2026 the BLS expects registered nurses to see jobs increase in their field by 15%, although the average job growth rate for all occupations that the BLS projects during that timeframe is only 7%.
If a career as a transcultural nurse sounds appealing then you may also want to explore some other occupations that involve providing healthcare or you may be interested in working with immigrants and refugees by teaching English as a second language or working as an interpreter. Explore some similar career options through the links here.