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1.3 Nursing / Healthcare models promoting transcultural health and cultural competence

Transcultural Nursing was established by Madeleine Leininger in the early 1960s. The focus of transcultural nursing is to provide culturally competent care to all patients/clients. As mentioned in the introductory section Papadopoulos and her colleagues defined this area as the study and research of cultural diversities and similarities in health and illness as well as their underpinning societal and organisational structures, in order to understand current practice and to contribute to its future development in a culturally responsive way. Transcultural nursing (and all other healthcare) requires a commitment for the promotion of anti-oppressive, anti-discriminatory practices. Transcultural health and nursing emphasises the importance of empowering clients to participate in health care decisions, therefore it is imperative that health care professionals must recognise how society constructs and perpetuates power and disadvantage. No other nursing philosophy and framework places so much emphasis in such an explicit way towards the promotion of equality and the value of individuals, as this does (Papadopoulos & Alleyne 1995, Papadopoulos et al 1998, Papadopoulos & Lees 2002).

Numerous models for transcultural nursing and health have been developed following Leininger’s pioneering work. In addition to the Papadopoulos, Tilki and Taylor (1998) model which underpins the learning materials on this website, others include that of Purnell’s model (Purnell and Paulanka 1998), Campinha-Bacote’s model (1998), and Giger & Davidhizar (1999).

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There are a number of academic models of cultural competence. To explore further, please go to the Mary Seacole MELTING project website:

The RCN’s Transcultural Healthcare Practice: an educational resource for nurses and health care practitioners:


Campinha-Bacote J 1998 The process of cultural competence in the delivery of healthcare services. A culturally competent model of care. 3rd ed. Transcultural C.A.R.E. Associates, Cincinnati

Giger J, Davidhizar R 1999 Transcultural Nursing. Assessment and intervention. 2nd edn. Mosby, St. Louis

Leininger M M 1995 Transcultural Nursing. Concepts, theories, research and practices. 2nd edn. McGraw-Hill, New York

Papadopoulos I, Alleyne J 1995 The need for nursing and midwifery programmes of education to address the health care needs of minority ethnic groups. Nurse Education Today, 15:140-144

Papadopoulos I, Tilki M, Taylor G 1998 Transcultural care. A guide for health care professionals. Quay Books, Dinton

Papadopoulos I, Lees S 2002 Developing Culturally Competent Researchers. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 37(3):258-264

Purnell L D, Paulanka B J 1998 Transcultural health care. A culturally competent approach. F A Davies, Philadelphia

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Visitors of this website are welcome to use any of the materials for educational purposes as long as they clearly credit their source.