Nursing Essay Sample: Madeleine Leininger's Theory

Published: 2022-09-12
Nursing Essay Sample: Madeleine Leininger's Theory
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Nursing
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1475 words
13 min read

Madeleine Leininger developed the transcultural theory of nursing. In the early 1950s, she was working in child care and guidance home where she acknowledged the significance of focusing on providing quality care. Also, she observed that the children had different behavioural patterns due to their different cultural backgrounds. It is through this observation that Leininger found the need to pave the way to expand the nurses understanding on the diverse cultures among the patients which was a significant element that was lacking in the healthcare system. Through developing this theory, Leininger strived to enhance the quality of patient care by creating a culturally competent education among the nurses (Busher Betancourt, 2015).

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In her theory, Leininger defines nursing as scientific and a humanistic method of helping patients by integrating cultural aspects such as values, practices, and beliefs to assist in improving and maintaining a high quality of healthcare conditions. The theory majorly focuses on the basis that different cultures present different caring methods, various illnesses, values, practices, behaviour patterns and hence require different healthcare attention. Through creating awareness on the diverse cultures that exist among the patients, it helps the nurses to design nursing interventions that embrace the cultural diversity therein.

According to Busher Betancourt, (2015),

"The nurse plans interventions that are culturally congruent with the patient's needs and evaluates the implementation, judging whether or not the patient's cultural needs are fully addressed."

The transcultural theory of nursing helps in giving a better understanding of the patient-nurse relationship since the nurses are responsible for developing the nursing care plan. The core objective of the theory is thus to equip the nurses with cultural diversity education so that they establish healthcare programs that are suitable for their patients regardless of the different cultural backgrounds. Over the years, the theory has created a significant impact on the nursing practice as caregivers are now more aware of the cultural diversity among patients and hence enhancing the quality of healthcare service.

Reason for Selecting the Theory

In the past years, the nursing practice looked at a patient based on the social, psychological, and spiritual perspective but the cultural aspect was often overlooked. While all these aspects are relevant in creating a nursing program, integrating the cultural perspective is also significant in devising an effective healthcare program (Busher Betancourt, 2015). This theory is relevant as it helps to understand the contribution of cultural diversity education on the nursing healthcare practice. Furthermore, over the years, the knowledge has created a significant on the quality of healthcare. It is worth noting that the cultural background of the patients is usually passed from generation to generation and it has a considerable influence on their health and also to their reaction to particular treatment mechanisms. Therefore, by understanding the different cultures that exist, the nurses can develop treatment programs that are suitable for each of their patients. Besides, the transcultural theory of nursing forms an integral part of the nursing practice in today's world.

Consequently, in the current world today, there is increased globalization where there is the integration of various cultures across the globe. The need to embrace diversity and understand the different cultures is not only crucial in the education and business sectors but also in the healthcare system. More often the nursing education merely covers the significance of embracing the diverse cultures that exist among the patients, yet nurses certainly come into contact with patients from all parts of the world. In this case, Leininger's transcultural theory of nursing proves the importance of embracing cultural diversity which often lacks within the clinical setting and the nursing education as well. Through recognizing and understanding the core aspects of this theory, nurses become role models in the health care system and as a result, there is an increased tendency to prioritize the quality of health among the patients. In the long run, the health care system ends up focusing in both the healthcare needs of the patients while still embracing heir the cultural practices, values, and beliefs.

The Key Propositions and Concepts of the Theory

As the name suggests, Leininger's transcultural theory of nursing majorly focuses on providing the nursing student with the knowledge on the importance of integrating cultural diversity in nursing practice (Oria, Ximenes & Alves, 2005). Leininger's primary concept is the need to embrace cultural diversity and striving to learn and understand the cross-cultural aspects as a way to enhance the quality of nursing care in the healthcare system. Being born from a mixed Hispanic origin, Leininger realizes that the cross-cultural behavioural patterns influence the quality of health care and they are present in today's healthcare system. As a result, it creates adverse effects on the patients' recovery process due to ignorance and lack of adequate knowledge. For this reason, the theory provides insights on the basic knowledge that can help the nurses to heighten their cultural competence and hence alleviate the quality of the nursing practice they offer to the patients.

Leininger uses her real-life example to emphasize the core learning objectives of her theory. For instance, she lived in a community full of people from different cultural backgrounds. It had a mixture of Puerto Rican-Americans and other separate cultures from the United States. Therefore, she could observe and understand how diverse cultures influenced the health status and behavioural patterns of people. By developing the transcultural theory, she seeks to emphasize the significance of cultural diversity in moulding competent nurses. For instance, while delivering patient care, it is important to gather relevant knowledge of the patient regarding their cultural background.

Nurses are often required to conduct a brief background check about the patient to understand their cultural values, beliefs, practices, and cultural obligations before designing the treatment program. It not only helps the nurses to devise a healthcare program that conforms to the cultural requirements of patients but also the level of compassion increase trust and satisfaction of the patient making them seek the healthcare service in future. Usually, culturally competent nurses end up proving the best care to their patients. When caregivers acknowledge and respect the cultural needs of a patient, it eliminates the potential barriers that may hinder the patient's recovery process. It is worth noting that nurses form a significant proportion of caregivers across the globe. The theory thus makes nursing students to grasp this information early enough to develop an outlook on effective nursing-patient relationships. In a case where the nurses tend to ignore the cultural needs of the patients, it places the patients'' convalescence at risk and even the patient may not seek health care service in the future. In this case, nurses must promote a positive outlook of the patents care by prioritizing the patient's cultural needs and by integrating compassion in the lens of cross-cultures.

The Relevance of the Nursing Theory in Nursing Practice

The theory is essential as it provides the necessary insights for delivering quality health care service to patients. By studying this theory, it is not necessary that nurses need to travel to foreign countries to learn and understand the diverse cultures. Instead, the theory suggests that nurses can learn the different cultures by being compassionate and showing interest to learn about their patients before administering the treatment program. In this case, the theory helps nurses to understand the importance of focusing on the patient. It is necessitated by listening to the patient and finding the necessity to ask, assess, and understand the cultural values, beliefs, and practices of each patient. Further, it helps nurses to implement a health care program that suits the needs of the patients without affecting or rather being offensive to their cultural background because it sometimes happens.

Many are the cases where a patient may require special needs that are not included within the nursing care spectrum. Therefore, through communication and showing compassion, it allows the patients to be more confident and increases trust making it easy to share the special requirements. These critical skills required of culturally competent nurses as sufficiently provided by the transcultural theory. Therefore studying this theory is relevant as it helps the nurses to gain the sense to care for patients from culturally diverse backgrounds while taking into account their cultural needs. It helps to acknowledge that patients are different and they do not deserve similar treatment programs or else it may harm their health status. Through this theory, nurses become sensitive to the differences that exist among the patients and hence increasing the opportunity to deliver the best results as possible.


Busher Betancourt, D. A. (2015). Madeleine Leininger and the transcultural theory of nursing. The Downtown Review, 2(1). Retrieved from

Oria, M. O. B., Ximenes, L. B., & Alves, M. D. S. (2005). Madeleine Leininger and the theory of the cultural care diversity and universality - an historical overview. Online Brazilian Journal Of Nursing, 4(2). doi: 10.5935/1676-4285.20050218

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