Acculturation is a process that individuals undergo when they join a new culture, in which they adopt and integrate the beliefs, values, behaviors, and practices of that culture. As a new graduate entering the nursing profession, my acculturation experience has been both challenging and rewarding. Similarly, a new nursing colleague who joined my team within the past year would have also gone through a period of acculturation, albeit with their own unique experiences and challenges.
One of the similarities in our acculturation experiences is the emphasis on professional values and ethics within the nursing profession. Both of us would have learned about the core values of nursing, such as altruism, autonomy, and integrity, and have been expected to adhere to these values in our practice. We would have also learned about the professional responsibilities and ethical principles that guide our decision-making and interactions with patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals. This emphasis on professional values and ethics reflects the shared culture of nursing and is an important aspect of our acculturation process.
Another similarity in our acculturation experiences is the focus on evidence-based practice (EBP) in nursing. EBP involves integrating the best available evidence with clinical expertise and patient preferences to guide nursing practice. As new graduates, we would have been introduced to the concept of EBP during our education and encouraged to use research evidence to inform our practice. Similarly, a new nursing colleague who joined my team would have also been expected to understand and apply EBP principles in their clinical practice. The promotion of EBP in nursing reflects a shared commitment to using scientific knowledge to improve patient outcomes and is a central component of our acculturation to the nursing profession.
However, there are also differences in our acculturation experiences, depending on factors such as our educational background, prior healthcare experience, and the specific healthcare setting in which we work. For example, as a new graduate, my acculturation experience may have been more focused on transitioning from the academic setting to the clinical practice setting. I would have needed to adapt to the demands and expectations of the healthcare environment, such as understanding the importance of teamwork, effective communication, and time management. In contrast, a new nursing colleague who joined my team with prior healthcare experience may have had a different set of challenges. They may have needed to adjust to a new organizational culture, learn the specific policies and procedures of our healthcare setting, and integrate into our established team dynamics.
Another potential difference in our acculturation experiences could be related to cultural diversity and the need to provide culturally competent care. Nursing is a profession that serves individuals from diverse backgrounds, and as new graduates, we would have been exposed to the importance of cultural sensitivity and respect for patients’ diverse beliefs, values, and practices. However, the specific challenges and opportunities for developing cultural competence may vary depending on the patient population served in our respective healthcare settings. For example, if my new nursing colleague joined a healthcare facility with a high population of immigrant patients, their acculturation experience may have involved a deeper understanding of cultural diversity and the need to provide culturally competent care.
In conclusion, my acculturation experience as a new graduate to the culture of the nursing profession has been both similar and different from that of a new nursing colleague who joined my team within the past year. We both would have gone through a period of adjusting to the professional values and ethics of nursing, as well as the emphasis on evidence-based practice. However, there may be differences based on factors such as prior healthcare experience and the specific healthcare setting. Recognizing these similarities and differences can help create a supportive environment for the acculturation of new graduates and new colleagues, ultimately leading to improved patient care and outcomes.