Reflections on 45 years of Transcultural Nursing Society (TCNS) by Dr. Dula Pacquiao

The Transcultural Nursing Society is the embodiment of the vision of its founder, Dr. Madeleine Leininger that is kept alive by several generations of scholars and leaders in TCN. I was privileged to experience working with Dr. Leininger and witnessed firsthand her tenacity in pursuing her objective to create TCN as a distinct nursing discipline to promote culturally congruent care. She emphasized high level of scholarship to create a body of knowledge of TCN through research, education and practice. TCNS has undertaken many avenues to keep this legacy alive through its annual conferences, the Journal of Transcultural Nursing and basic and advanced certification for TCN. The establishment of TCN Scholars comprised of outstanding members committed to advancing TCN worldwide has expanded the breadth of knowledge and application of TCN through publications, consultation and collaboration.

The global problem of health inequity across population groups has brought widespread recognition of culturally competent/congruent care and its moral implications in mitigating health disparities. Populations affected by health inequity are more likely to be diverse minorities who suffer disenfranchisement, marginalization and discrimination by the privileged dominant groups in society. In the 1990s, Leininger defined culturally congruent care as meaningful, supportive and enabling care that is grounded in the valued traditions and lifeways of the people. Her ideas have influenced much of what recent pundits have recommended to address health equity - advocacy and empowerment. The principles of primary health care are rooted in working with the generic culture and caring patterns of populations. Policy makers, educators and healthcare leaders have embraced the need for education and training in culturally competent care for all healthcare personnel.

In celebrating our 45th year of existence, TCNS members can reflect on our achievements in the context of our mission. We can congratulate ourselves for becoming a sustainable, stable and influential organization. It is also high time to ponder on how we move towards bigger achievements, keeping our mission strong and expanding our responsiveness to current and future trends in healthcare. Culturally competent care must incorporate populations outside of health care organizations by influencing policies and social structures that can make real impact on underserved and vulnerable populations. Broad based changes are possible through partnership and collaboration with other entities to create high impact on populations. Members of the TCN Scholars proposed linking TCNS with the United Nations to strengthen its international advocacy for culturally competent care. Another recommendation is to foster ongoing dialogue with our international colleagues and organizations formalized through international collaborative conferences. Our continued success hinges on our collective vision and action. TCNS is strengthened by our common interest and active participation.

Dula F. Pacquiao, EdD, RN, CTN-A

President, Transcultural Nursing Society (2003-2005)

Director, Transcultural Nursing Scholars (2004-2008)