Cultural Communication

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Cultural Ancestry

My cultural ancestry traces back to Pakistan, which is a country in the southern part of Asia. It has rich customs, traditions and culture, which represent the faith, language, environment, and history of the country. Although the country split from its southern neighbor India in 1947, it has a rich history that dates back to more than 1,000 years (Harry, 2012). The country’s culture is influenced by different cultures from the Middle East, Central Asia, and India. The culture is diverse with different identifiable cultural backgrounds including Punjab, Sindh, Khyber, and Baluchistan among others (Harry, 2012). The Islamic religion has also played a significant role in shaping the Pakistani culture, and it has also been a pattern that has molded the population and made it as it is now. However, even though the majority of the Pakistani people practice the Islam, there are also other religions practiced including Christianity, Buddhism and Hindu. In addition, some foreign customs and traditions have infiltrated the Pakistani culture and, as a result, influenced it (Kwintessential, 2014).

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The family is a central part of the Pakistani culture, and not only the immediate family, but also the extended one. In most homes, the extended family normally remains together for life. In general, the family provides all that is necessary in life, and communication as well as; thus, socialization is limited to the extended family. As such, the family unit is central to the Pakistani culture (Kwintessential, 2014). However, over time, this has begun changing due to urbanization and migration, and in most urban areas, families consist of the nuclear family only. Nepotism, when brothers take care of brothers, and favoritism are common in Pakistan. Except for the wealthy and middle class Pakistani families, it is rare for the female members of the family to be seen in family photos.

Willingness of Pakistanis to Share Thoughts, Feelings, and Ideas

In general, Pakistani people are willing to interact with other people, and also share their ideas, feelings and thoughts, and enjoy doing it. In addition, they are interested in learning about the other person. However, when sharing information about family members, they have a tendency to focus on the male members of the family more than the females. In most cases, the Pakistani people do not appreciate talking about the female members of their families in public (Duncan & Ridley-Duff, 2014). However, they gladly share information about their background, family, schools that they attended, or even countries that they have visited, and the places they work. Except for matters relating to the female members of the family, the Pakistani people easily share their feelings and ideas. While meeting a person from Pakistan, a personal introduction is an excellent conversation starter, and discussing education or profession, and sharing a brief history of the family acts as a trigger for automatic response. In reply, the individual is likely to share similar information, and these individuals take pride in having knowledge about facts about other cultures and countries. In addition, the Pakistanis take matters related to politics and religion as personal, and are usually willing to share such details with close friends and family members only, and they rarely share the same with strangers (Harry, 2014). Besides, it would be considered a taboo to discuss matters relating to female members of the family in public. It may also be considered a taboo to show the palm of the hand with the fingers outstretched, as well as pushing the thumbnail against the front teeth and flicking (Kwintessential, 2014).

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Practice and Meaning of Touch

Touching is a significant part of the Pakistani culture, and it derives most of its influence from the Islam religion. It is common for representatives of the same sex to shake hands, but not for representatives of the opposite sex. For example, men shake hands with men, and women shake hands with women, but it rarely happens that women will shake hands with men, and it is mainly due to the influence of the religion. It is common for the same-sex people to hug and hold hands, but not common for the individuals of the opposite sex (Ronaq, 2014). In addition, it is common in Pakistan for a male not to try to shake a female’s hand unless she extends her hand first (Kwintessential, 2014). However, it is common for a female or male Pakistani to shake hands with a member of the opposite sex when he or she is a foreigner. Even though touching among members of the opposite sex is not common, relatives and friends may hug whenever they meet. Touching by healthcare providers is not restricted, but the senior members of the family, especially men, may offer guidance on sharing the information about the patient. Therefore, the culture does not restrict touching when one is a patient or a healthcare provider. However, it is important to note that religious beliefs also play a significant role in relation to the healthcare provision as some of the Pakistanis believe that touching of the dead is avoided as the dead body is deemed unclean.

Personal Spatial and Distancing Strategies

Pakistani people are not as concerned about personal space as the western cultures. It is common for a person to stand close to another while they converse, and at times, a person from a different culture may feel as though their personal space is being violated. When communicating, it is common for friends to touch on the hand or shoulder. It may also happen when people get to know one another, but it is limited to the same-sex lines. Therefore, it is unexpected for a male friend to keep touching a female Pakistani friend. The female may feel as though their personal space is being invaded. It is more common for the touching to happen when a person is interacting with a friend or a relative than when conversing with a stranger. However, Pakistanis prefer to converse in non-controversial manner and will rarely say anything directly (Kwintessential, 2014). For instance, even if their personal space is being violated, even if asked, they would rarely admit it, and they may opt to use a different approach, such as, excusing themselves.  However, direct statements may be made when conversing with an individual with whom they have a long-term personal relationship. Flattering is common in the conversations and they usually try to find something to praise. There is less personal space among the friends and families than among strangers.

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Use of Eye Contact

Eye contact is important in the Pakistani culture, but it is not required during communication. The representatives of the same age group and gender can use direct eye contact. However, when an individual is speaking to an elder person or a person of the opposite sex, it is important to use indirect eye contact. As a sign of respect, eye contact should be avoided when talking to an elder. In addition, when in public, one should avoid direct eye contact with a person of the opposite sex as it is considered as rude and unethical (Kwintessential, 2014). In general, one should maintain indirect eye contact when communicating with a person from the Pakistani culture. One should also avoid prolonged eye contact even when talking to people in their age group. Family honor is of great importance to the Pakistanis, and male family members are protective of the female relatives, and thus, it is important for a man to avoid making direct eye contact with the women. When a woman is stared at, they often feel ashamed and uncomfortable (Duncan & Ridley-Duff, 2014).

Use of Gestures

It is acceptable to use gestures and facial expressions. However, Pakistanis do not use gestures much during conversations. When pointing at something, it is common for people to use the index finger. In addition, when a person puts the hand on their chest, it is commonly used as a sign of respect or as a way of saying hello (Kwintessential, 2014). It is also important to use the right hand for all public functions, such as, eating, drinking or passing something to someone else. Use of the left hand for these functions is considered as an insult, and it is mainly considered to be unhygienic.

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Acceptable Ways of Standing and Greeting People

Greetings are important among the Pakistani, and the way they are handled is also important. However, it is not expected that people of the opposite gender are touched in public. As such, shaking hands should be done only when the female colleague extends her hand. As an individual greets other people, standing is seen as a sign of respect, but it is not a significant issue.

Prevailing Temporal Relations of the Culture

The Pakistani culture’s view of the world can be defined as past due to the existence of numerous cultural practices that have existed for many years. Some of the cultural practices, such as not touching of opposite-sex people, may be seen as retrospective by people from future- and present-oriented cultures, such as USA and France.

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Impact of Culture on Nursing and Healthcare

Having a career in the healthcare sector is not heavily influenced by the Pakistani culture, but there is some influence in the fact that I have to interact with people of different ages and sex, and I will need them to answer personal questions. As I grew up, I was expected to respect the privacy of others, and at times, it becomes difficult to ask an individual, especially the elders, personal questions. However, understanding that nursing career is aimed at improving the healthcare of the people, it becomes easier for me.