Working in a cross-cultural setting

Document Type

Book Chapter


Routledge / Taylor & Francis


Milnes, P., Fenwick, C., Truscott, K., & St John, W. (2007). Working in a cross-cultural setting. In W. St John & H. Keleher (Eds.), Community Nursing Practice (pp. 289-308). Routledge / Taylor & Francis. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003115229


Cultural diversity in Australia has accelerated the need for the nursing profession to review current practices when caring for people from different cultures. Australia is a complex mix of Indigenous and immigrant groups, who may live anywhere from hectic metropolitan centres to the remote arid lands of central Australia. When nurses enter other people’s places or practise nursing in cross-cultural settings, they may find themselves personally and professionally challenged. Power distance refers to ways in which cultural groups deal with power inequalities identified in society. Mainstream Anglo-Australian people prefer small power distances so the gap between the privileged and the common person is relatively small. Individualism and collectivism refer to the cohesiveness and independence exhibited by members in a cultural group. Individualistic cultures, exemplified by mainstream Anglo-Australian families, and expect everyone to look after themselves and the immediate nuclear families.