Transcultural Nurse

What Is a Transcultural Nurse?

Transcultural nurses provide culturally sensitive nursing care to patients from around the world who have different religions, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds. The field of transcultural nursing was officially established in 1955 and is considered a cognitive specialty which focuses mainly on global cultures and relative cultural caring, health, and nursing experience. Not only should transcultural nurses be familiar with a patient's values, traditions, beliefs, and cultural customs, they should also be familiar with the way a person's modes of thinking and their way of life can affect the way that they deal with sickness and death. Becoming a transcultural nurse means learning about the differences between cultures around the world, nursing practices in other countries, global health issues, and becoming familiar with the various international health organizations.

What Are Some Transcultural Nurse Duties?

  • Acting as a liaison between patients, their loved ones, and other healthcare providers
  • Providing patients and their loved ones with physical, emotional, and spiritual support
  • Helping to educate families on patients' health status
  • Bridging the gap between a patient's culture and the nursing practice
  • Understanding a patient's cultural, religious, and ethnic background
  • Gathering information regarding home healthcare remedies a patient may need to help alleviate their symptoms
  • Understanding the relationship between a patient's beliefs regarding health and their medical illness
  • Gathering information on the patient's socioeconomic status
  • Understanding how race, ethnicity, religion, and culture affect outlooks on health and child-rearing practices

Where do Transcultural Nurses Work?

Transcultural nurses often find employment in the following facilities:

  • Hospitals
  • International non-governmental organizations
  • Community health centers
  • Outpatient clinics

How to Become a Transcultural Nurse

Transcultural nursing is a niche specialty which requires the right balance of education, experience, and cultural awareness. With so many different cultural beliefs in the United States, transcultural nurses can bridge the gap in communication and care to ensure that all patients have access to quality medical care, particularly when delicate cultural issues come into play.

Step 1: Educational Requirements

Before entering the transcultural nursing specialty field, students must first earn a two-year Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a four-year Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN). After having successfully earned one of these degrees, the next step is to take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become fully licensed as an RN. At this point, the only additional educational requirement is to complete a 3-credit hour or 42 contact hour continuing education course on cultural diversity and cultural competency and undergo 2,400 hours of on-hands learning experience as a registered nurse in the field.

Do Transcultural Nurses Need an RN Degree?

In order to practice as a transcultural nurse, it's required to be a fully licensed registered nurse (RN). The RN degree level required will vary based on the type of organization a transcultural nurse wishes to work at.

Step 2: Required Transcultural Nurse Certifications/Credentials

Because it's a relatively new sub-specialty of nursing, a transcultural nursing certification has only been around for a few decades. Although certification isn't always required for employment, most employers in the field consider certification to be a plus since it demonstrates proficiency and competency within the specialty. Certification is also demonstrative of the practitioner's up-to-date knowledge and skill level. Via the Transcultural Nursing Society, individuals can pursue both basic and advanced certifications in transcultural nursing. The basic transcultural nursing (TCN) certification is available to those who have earned their ADN or BSN degrees. The advanced certification, on the other hand, is only available to individuals who have completed either a Master's in Nursing Science (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Transcultural Nurse Jobs, Salary & Employment

In an increasingly globalized world where many cultures, religions, and ethnic groups are constantly interacting with one another, the skill set of the transcultural nurse will only become more and more valuable as time goes on.

Job Description & Information

  • Essential Skills Needed - Cultural competence, extensive knowledge on cultural practices, religions, and ethnic groups around the globe, empathy, sensitivity, and strong interpersonal communication skills
  • Job Outlook - Because many of the currently employed nurses are from the baby boomer generation and are nearing retirement, we can expect most specialty fields like transcultural nursing to continue to grow. The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics has estimated that job growth for RNs will rise by 16% between 2014 and 2024. Unless the process of globalization stops anytime soon, we can expect the field of transcultural nursing to continue to grow rapidly.

What Is the Average Salary of a Transcultural Nurse?

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2018 that the average annual salary of a registered nurse (RN) was $70,000. Although there is no information regarding the median annual salaries of transcultural nurses, it's only reasonable to assume that they are comparable to the figure listed above. Like registered nurses, transcultural nurses who are employed full-time will enjoy benefits packages which will typically include comprehensive medical, dental, vision, and prescription insurance coverage. However, this will depend on employing organization. Lastly, most transcultural nurses will enjoy a few weeks of paid time-off every year. Again, the amount of time off will depend on the employer.

Transcultural Nurse Resources