Leininger’s Culture Care & Universality Theory & Model

My Theory Definition

I can define Leininger’s Theory of Culture Care and Universality as a model that seeks to understand and care for the needs of individuals and groups across cultures. It does this by identifying the universal human needs within all cultures and then providing care tailored to meet those needs. The theory was first proposed by nursing theorist Madeleine Leininger in the 1960s, and it has since been widely used in nursing practice and education (Chiatti, 2019). One of the key strengths of the theory is its focus on culture-centered care, which recognizes that different cultures have their own unique ways of meeting people’s needs. This approach helps nurses to better understand the patients they are caring for and to provide care that is culturally appropriate.

Universality is the concept that argues that, regardless of geographical location and different circumstances, cultures share the same basic needs for health and well-being. These basic needs include those for a sense of identity, meaning and purpose, security, autonomy and personal control over one’s life, and for family relationships (Wehbe-Alamah, 2018). Some other basic needs include forming and maintaining friendships; individual mental health; self-esteem-building activities; informal education experiences; occupation or employment outside the home; and homemaking-companionship functions –vital roles women play.

Theory Application in My Practice

Leininger’s Culture Care and Universality Theory and Model is a great model to use in family medicine because it provides a framework for understanding the culture of patients. It also allows healthcare providers to deliver culturally congruent care tailored to their patient’s needs. I can apply this theory in practice by taking into account the patient’s cultural background when caring for them. This includes understanding the patient’s values, practices, and beliefs related to health and illness. It is also important to be aware of any acculturation issues that may be impacting the patient’s care (Wehbe-Alamah, 2018). This theory’s approach can help me to ensure that patients receive culturally-sensitive care that meets their needs. I can also apply it in my practice by understanding how care is delivered in various cultures so that, as a family physician, I improve the quality and delivery of healthcare for all patients.

Barriers Faced Due to Cultural Discrepancy

The barriers I faced due to the cultural discrepancy were mainly communication barriers and medical recommendation rejection by patients. Some patients do not want to share personal information with me because they think that, as a foreigner, I cannot understand their culture and cannot keep their personal information confidential. In addition, due to the difference in cultural beliefs, some patients are not willing to follow my recommendations because they go against their traditional beliefs or customs (Chiatti, 2019). For example, some cultures do not believe in taking medication and mainly believe that serious ailments such as sexually transmitted diseases and cancer are curses from God.

I witnessed one patient dying while being taken for cultural cleansing since they believe that HIV/AIDS is a punishment from God and someone has to be cleansed by the old members in the community. Again some of the patients’ cultures believe that young people cannot recommend health solutions for the elderly; they hold that the oldest person in the community possesses enough wisdom to utter such recommendations. Finally, I have also experienced a language barrier since I am not fluent in the language most of my patients prefer. However, despite all these barriers, I always try my best to understand my patient’s culture and beliefs so that I can provide them with the best possible care.


Chiatti B. D. (2019). Culture care beliefs and practices of Ethiopian immigrants. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 30(4), pp. 340–349. Web.

Wehbe-Alamah H. B. (2018). Leininger’s culture care diversity and universality theory: Classic and new contributions. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 37(1), 1–23. Web.

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