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The definition also points out the relationship of the caregiver with his or her environment. Contexts and social processes are also considered part of the care. Meleis (1996) argues that every health experience should be understood by taking into account social, political, historical, and structural contexts, to go beyond individual and group differences. Considering the social and political dimensions of care avoids the pitfall of culturalist explanations taking into account the dynamism of culture and its multiple variations across age, gender, sexual orientation, or social status to name a few. The nurse is historically and culturally connected with others and with society. To put her preconceptions and prejudices in the care relationship aside requires a conscious effort. The professional must reflect and expand her vision of the power structures that can influence the social representations of the care, health, and culture. She could also reflect on the impact of these representations on individuals and on society. This critical reflection also allows the professional to question current practices and to propose changes for the improvement of efficiency and quality of care, and, on a larger scale, equality and social justice. To perform this critical reflection, it is essential to recognize the health impacts of social, health, and power inequalities, as well as economic and political injustices. Knowledge of these inequities does not refer to ethnospecific content but rather to various contexts that influence the health of a population.


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