Transcultural nursing as a concept dates back at least as far as the mid-20th century in the United States. However, the field—seen as a distinct specialty by many in nursing—may be just reaching the apex of its importance today. Expanding populations, an influx of immigrants from other cultures, and even the trend toward doing business on a global scale have all made the mastery of transcultural nursing a necessity for modern nurses.

What is transcultural nursing? According to, a transcultural nurse “looks to respond to the imperative for developing a global perspective within the nursing field in an increasingly globalized world of interdependent and interconnected nations and individuals.” Further, to be effective in the field, a nurse should “possess the ability to recognize and appreciate cultural differences in healthcare values, beliefs, and customs.”

Important Factors to Consider in Transcultural Nursing

In a multicultural society, there are multiple factors to consider in patient care that haven’t always been top of mind for healthcare professionals, such as how body language, eye contact, touch, and proximity affect patients. These are all an intrinsic part of the nursing profession. Views about these elements of patient care are not universal, however, but culturally determined. Each must be treated as potentially sensitive when providing care to a multicultural patient base.

While it’s helpful to be able to identify the culture and religion of a patient you’re treating, it’s also important not to make assumptions about them or stereotype them. As the peer-reviewed journal Nursing2020 states, “When caring for a patient from a culture different from your own, you need to be aware of and respect his cultural preferences and beliefs; otherwise, he may consider you insensitive and indifferent, possibly even incompetent. But beware of assuming that all members of any one culture act and behave in the same way; in other words, don’t stereotype people.”

Instead of viewing a patient primarily as part of a specific culture, it’s important to remember that all patients are individuals. In order to avoid offending someone who’s in your care, learn what his or her preferences are. You can do this through a cultural assessment tool such as a questionnaire. Most patients will appreciate that you took the time to learn their specific requirements.

Formal instruction is also a good way to become what the Transcultural Nursing Society calls a “culturally competent nurse.” A baccalaureate-level program such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing can help you gain the skills to identify and overcome challenges arising from cultural differences with patients. These skills can not only help your daily responsibilities as a nurse go more smoothly, they can also help you go farther in your career.

UT Permian Basin’s Online RN to BS in Nursing Program

Created with a transcultural-nursing-infused curriculum, The University of Texas Permian Basin’s CCNE-accredited online RN to BS in Nursing program can help you prepare to take on leadership and decision-making roles. As you move through our program, you’ll learn effective ways to meet the diverse needs of multicultural patients as well as gain a deeper understanding of evidence-based practice and patient-centered care.

Our Culturally Focused BSN Courses

The UT Permian Basin online RN to BS in Nursing program includes three core courses that directly address the question, “What is transcultural nursing?”:

  • Transcultural Nursing

In this course, you’ll gain a foundation in the nursing practices and specialized medical and nursing terminology you need to communicate effectively with Spanish-speaking patients and families. This includes evaluating the nursing decisions and actions required to perform patient history, patient teaching, medication administration, and discharge planning, in addition to explaining procedures and therapy corresponding with the needs of Spanish-speaking patients via a medical interpreter.

  • Multicultural Public Health Nursing

This course includes an analysis of formal and informal community systems/resources and healthcare delivery systems in public health and places an emphasis on cultural influences on the health of individuals, families, communities, and populations. In the course, you’ll explore community partnerships, interprofessional communication to promote health, as well as roles, strategies, and resources for emergency management in the community.

  • Multicultural Public Health Nursing: Clinical

In this course, you’ll discover how to apply evidence-based nursing skills to community/public health situations addressing cultural diversity, at-risk families, and vulnerable populations. You’ll also learn the importance of collaboration and interprofessional communication in promoting healthy communities through public health systems. The course also examines community assessment and planning in non-emergent and emergent situations in addition to advocacy for access to the healthcare system.

Honing Your Transcultural Nursing Expertise Online

Earning your BSN online from UT Permian Basin has benefits you can enjoy immediately, not just after you’ve concluded the program. Our program features asynchronous, fully online classes that you can complete at any convenient time of day from any location with internet access. There are no required campus visits for any of the courses, including the three required core courses mentioned above. You can also choose from six program start times to fit your schedule and program completion goals. If you’ll be juggling professional and personal responsibilities while you’re enrolled, you’ll find this flexibility invaluable.

The UT Permian Basin online RN to BS in Nursing program is delivered in an accelerated format that enables you to finish some courses in just seven weeks. Every program course is taught by the same acclaimed faculty who teach the courses in-person on the UT Permian Basin campus. When you graduate from the program, you’ll receive a BSN degree that’s identical to the one that campus-based students receive. None of our degrees specify that the program was completed online.

To provide the most effective care to patients, every nurse today should be educated in transcultural nursing. UT Permian Basin’s online RN to BS in Nursing program can help you excel in the modern multicultural environment.