Culturally aware nurses recognize that states of health are revealed differently across cultures and ethnicities. Culture and ethnic background will affect the way each individual responds to health, illness, and death. These nurses are also aware of their own biases, which may affect the care they provide to others. Because most nurses work in institutions with individual patients, they are accustomed to delivering culturally competent care on a one-on-one basis. When a public health nurse deals with a population, he or she must consider how the population culture affects the ways in which the community nurse may interact. This can be with regard to the provision of education or mass health care needs such as those required in a foodborne illness, if mass vaccinations are needed for a communicable disease outbreak, or if education is required to prevent heart disease. In addition to understanding the nuances of the culture of a population, community health nurses must understand the role genetics play in health. Some disorders, such as glaucoma and diabetes, have a genetic link, as do some cancers, such as breast and ovarian.
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