TRaNSforM working definition of open-mindedness
Co-ordinating partner United Kingdom
Open-mindedness engenders a willingness to question current thinking and practice, to be receptive to emerging possibilities, to share ideas and to consider differing perspectives. It is a willingness to learn about difference, and treat each person as an individual in a way that can ultimately reinforce behavioural understanding of culture. Listening to different opinions and explanations carefully and sincerely without prejudices. Open-mindedness is a mind that is open to revising firmly held views on the basis of evidence and having a respect for the opinions of other people, as well as understanding and comprehending their opinions.
Open-mindedness within health care relates to the ability to draw attention away from social conditions and power differentials that underlie health inequalities. Open-mindedness in nursing is to have few or no stereotypic beliefs about cultural differences. It expresses the tolerance of the person for different approaches and sensitiveness for their own mistakes. In this dimension, the individual takes the opinions of other people into consideration as well, while making any decision. Whatever is strange should be regarded and evaluated not as a threat, but as enriching and enlightening.
Explanation from partners
Open-mindedness in nursing is to have less or none stereotypic beliefs about cultural differences (Hello et al, 2006) Open mindedness in health care relates to the ability to draw attention away from social conditions and power differentials that underlie health inequalities (Jenks, 2011). Open-mindedness in nursing is a requirement for autonomy and the ability to be committed to a view but open to the possibility that it may be wrong. Open-mindedness is a mind that is open to revising firmly held views on the basis of evidence (Riggs, 2010). Being “open-minded" is a willingness to learn about difference, and treat each person as an individual in a way that can ultimately reinforce behavioural understanding of culture (Sellman, 2003). Open-mindedness means that you and the field can spell out new ideas that can mean the end of basic principles, underlying ways of thinking, canons and dictums that you and the field take for granted (Mahrer, 2007).
It is vital to perceive others as different and as the same – something that is ruled out by both hierarchical ordering and universal equality. Whatever is strange should be regarded and evaluated not as a threat, as something that brings disintegration and fragmentation in its train, but as enriching in the first place (Beck and Grande, 2007, p.71).
Open-mindedness engenders a willingness to question current thinking and practice, to be receptive to emerging possibilities, to share ideas and to consider differing perspectives (Cegarra-Navarro and Cepeda-Carrión, 2008) In Germany , the term open-mindedness (Offenheit) is predominantly found in the context of professional relationship, empathy and teamwork and considered to be a major part in the relationship process, particularly emphasising intercultural and interdisciplinary teams. It is of particular importance in the “new understanding” of culture, pointing at its dynamic and process character (Kunze, 2011, pp.16).
Regarding nursing professions, Domenig (2007) describes transcultural competence as “the ability to perceive and understand individual realities (Lebenswelten) in a particular situation and in different contexts and to deduce appropriate and adapted actions. Transculturally competent professionals reflect their own immanent cultural imprint and prejudices, they have the ability to perceive and interpret others’ perspectives and avoid culturalisation and stereotyping of specific target groups. … Transcultural interaction includes the being at odds with individual realities (Lebenswelten) and experiences ” (p.174, translation by I. Bergmann-Tyacke).
With her definition of culture and the term of transculturality, Domenig emphasises interaction as the focus of transcultural competence rather than the cultures themselves. This competence is based on three columns: self-reflection, knowledge and experience and narrative empathy. For this kind of competence, open-mindedness is a requirement, defined as the readiness or preparedness to engage in and with the situation and the other person and the willingness to question or have questioned own action patterns and familiar viewpoints.
- Beck, U. and E. Grande (2007) ‘Cosmopolitanism: Europe’s Way out of Crisis’. European Journal of Social Theory. 10(1): pp.67–85.
- Domenig, D. (2007) Das Konzept der transkulturellen Kompetenz. In: Domenig, D. (Ed.), Transkulturelle Kompetenz: Lehrbuch für Pflege-, Gesundheits- und Sozialberufe. Bern: Huber.
- Hello, E., Scheepers, P. and Sleegers, P. (2006) Why the more educated are less inclined to keep ethnic distance: An empirical test of four explanations. Ethnic and Racial Studies. 29(5): pp.959-985.
- Jenks, A., C. (2011) From ‘‘Lists of Traits’’ to ‘‘Open-Mindedness’’: Emerging issues in cultural competence education. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry. 35(4): pp.209-235.
- Cegarra-Navarro, Juan Gabriel and Cepeda-Carrión, Gabriel (2008) Why Open-mindedness Needs Time to Explore and Exploit Knowledge. Time and Society. 17(2/3): pp.195-213.
- Kunze, K. (2011) Transkulturelle Kompetenz in der Ergotherapieausbildung. Unpublished Bachelor Thesis. University of Applied Sciences, Bielefeld, Germany.
- Mahrer, A. R. (2007). How psychotherapy can become a science. Montreal: Howard Gontovnick.
- Riggs, W. (2010) Open-mindedness. Metaphilosophy. 41(1–2): pp.172-188.
- Sellman, D. (2003) Open-mindedness: A virtue for professional practice. Nursing Philosophy. 4(1): pp. 17–24.