The aim of this study was to identify the cultural problems encountered during caregiving by the nurses working in two university hospitals located in western and eastern Turkey. This descriptive, comparative study was conducted between July 2008 and October 2009 with 338 nurses who volunteered to take part in the study. The study data were collected using an individual description questionnaire consisting of 10 questions and another questionnaire consisting of 14 questions to identify the cultural problems encountered by nurses when giving care. The study showed with respect to training received on transcultural nursing that only 59 nurses had this training, but the percentage was higher in the nurses working at the hospital in the west (54.2%) (P > 0.05). It was found that a large number of nurses in the sample group (n = 286) gave care to at least one individual from another culture, but the percentage was significantly higher in the nurses working in the west (56.7%) than in the nurses working in the east (43.3%) (P < 0.05). When the problems experienced by the nurses during caregiving because of cultural characteristics of patients were explored, it was found that they experienced problems mostly in ‘communication’, and the percentage of those having problems was higher in the nurses working in the west (60.8%) (P > 0.05). The problem experienced in this area was mostly because of the fact that patients ‘did not speak Turkish’ (63.8%). In conclusion, the nurses gave care to patients from different cultures, and most of them had trouble when giving care to patients from different cultures.