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Keywords:

  • Chinese values;
  • beliefs and health;
  • nursing;
  • culture

Chinese values, health and nursing

Purpose. To describe the roots of Chinese values, beliefs and the concept of health, and to illustrate how these ways have influenced the development of health care and nursing among Chinese in the Republic of China (ROC) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Scope. Based on the literature and direct observation in the PRC and ROC, this is an introduction to Chinese philosophies, religion, basic beliefs, and values with a special meaning for health and nursing. Chinese philosophies and religion include Confucian principles, Taoism, theory of ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’, and Buddhism. Beliefs and values include the way of education, practice of acupuncture, herbal treatments and diet therapy. How people value traditional Chinese medicine in combination with western science, and the future direction of nursing and nursing inquiry are also briefly addressed.

Conclusion. Chinese philosophies and religions strongly influence the Chinese way of living and thinking about health and health care. Nurses must combine information about culture with clinical assessment of the patient to provide cultural sensitive care. A better way may be to combine both western and Chinese values into the Chinese health care system by negotiating between the traditional values while at the same time, respecting an individual’s choice. The foundation of China’s philosophical and aesthetic tradition, in combination with western science is important to the future advancement of nursing research that will be beneficial to the Republics, Asia, and the world.