Cuban Spanish is influenced by African languages. Many Cuban Americans speak Spanish and English. Spanish is still spoken in the home, in Cuban community and by elderly (Giger, 2017).
May see women hug their F or M friends. Kissing on the cheek is also seen between younger members of the opposite sex. Cuban in general are very open with display of emotions. Greet with nick names (Giger, 2017 & Global Affairs Canada, 2017).
Incorporate their name into a song and sing it for them.
Kiss each other once on the cheek + a loud verbal greeting
Embrace each other with a hug + a soft verbal greeting
Men shake hands, but with good friends or family may give hugs with a few slaps on the back. Men and women may share handshakes or a light kiss on the cheek depending on familiarity (Global Affairs Canada, 2017).
Give a firm handshake
Give a Bro Hug
Tickle their arm pit
Curt nod with eye contact
Hand gestures are the most common, but touch may be used as well to give emphasis. Cuban’s use their body posture, facial expressions, and hands for emphasis (Giger, 2017 & Global Affairs Canada, 2017).
Use hand gestures
Change facial expression
"Conversation is lively and frequently loud and forceful" (Giger, 2017, p. 650). Cuban’s also speak quickly and with passion (Global Affairs Canada, 2017).
Loud and forceful
Loud and rude
Soft and meek
Eye contact is important especially in formal situations (Giger, 2017). Eye contact is a sign of trust and respect (Global Affairs Canada, 2017). It is important for a nurse to consider this when interacting with a Cuban American patient.
Confusion or incompetence
Respect or humbleness
Insincerity or perhaps spite
Holding a palm up when beckoning is considered a hostile gesture. Instead they beckon with the palm facing down and fingers waving inward (Giger, 2017).
Beckoning: waving fingers inward with the palm down
Using excessive hair flipping
Beckoning: waving fingers inward with the palm up
Nurses should try to avoid too much silence during conversation or it may be misinterpreted.
uncertainty or awkwardness
It is not impolite in Cuban culture to interrupt someone (Giger, 2017). Nurses should take this into consideration when communicating with Cuban Americans.
There are many different dialects and it is important for the interpreter to not only to speak Spanish, but speaks the correct dialect for that patient and their family. A Cuban interpreter is preferred, but the patient may want a family (Giger, 2017).
You would need to check with the patient first, but “less acculturated patients may prefer that the information be given to the family members who will share it as they see fit” (Giger, 2017, p. 651).
Personal information or highly sensitive info may be withheld. If HIV/AIDS diagnosis is discussed they may not want to do so with family present. Terminal prognosis or sexuality issues may want to be discussed with older family members (Giger, 2017).
“Greetings are very important in such a way that people greet each other even if they have not met previously. Saying hello when entering a place is very common and is a sign of good manners” (Global Affairs Canada, 2017).
Cubans are loud and boisterous in normal conversation and prefer to address issues directly (Giger, 2017 & Global Affairs Canada, 2017). The nurse should be aware that a patient may make commands or requests that are direct, but not meant to be rude.
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