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Family Assessment

Essay by   •  October 8, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  1,570 Words (7 Pages)  •  2,716 Views

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One of our main objectives as future nurses is to understand individual patients is to first gain an understanding of family background. Working with family from a systems perspective, the nurse is able to gain an understanding to the ways in which family members interact, what the family norms and expectations are, how effectively members communicate, who makes decisions, and how the family deals with needs and expectations (Edleman & Mandle, 2002). In the concept of systems theory, a family can exist within a community (suprasystem) and at the same time have smaller relationships within that family (subsystems). By composing a genogram, or family tree, one can see information on family relationships, health patterns, occupations, and religion. By composing an ecomap one can see information on how a family and its members interact with larger systems or smaller subsystems. The term family can be defined as "a group of individuals who are bound by strong emotional ties, a sense of belonging, and a passion for being involved in one another's lives (Wright & Leahey, 2000).

My girlfriend Reynelyn and I conducted this interview with her mom, dad, younger brother, older sister, and the immediate family of her father's side. The families that I chose to conduct my interview and research on are the Agbayani and Pascual families. By using the concepts of systems theory, genograms, and ecomaps, I will be giving you an analysis of her family and its relationships, health patterns, habits, customs, traditions, and how the members of the family interact with one another and also the outside community.

Family Description & Structure

Even though the Agbayani family is of Filipino descent, they can be seen as similar as any other working class nuclear family living in the United States. Reynelyn's household and immediate family consist of her father (Rodrigo), mother (Lorna), older sister (Heidi), younger brother (Leo), and herself. Her extended family on her father's side live in Seattle and her extended family on her mother's side live in Ilocos Sur, a provincial state in the Philippines. Both of her parents have jobs and are the main providers for the family. Some of the money that her parents make is used to help her father's parents and relatives here in Seattle and some is also sent to the Philippines to help the family of her mother's side. Reynelyn and her sister use some of the incomes they make to help out with bills and house payments. In Filipino culture and tradition it is highly considerate for the young members of the family to return portions of their earnings to their roots. This example can be seen in both of her parents giving money to her grandparents and both her and her sister giving portions of their paychecks to help her parents.

Since Extended family is a big part in many Filipino families, we try to live as close as possible as we can to each other in the Philippines as well as the United States. This kind of kinship and bonding can be demonstrated in her family. Most of the relatives on her father's side of the family live two miles down the street from them. The members of her father's extended family that live in that household consist of her grandmother, grandfather, cousins, three uncles, and two aunts. Reynelyn and her immediate family are always in contact with their relatives. They spend and average of 25 to 25 hours a week together at their house or the house of her grandparents. During family gatherings they cook enough food to serve 10 to 20 people, have 1 or 2 tables open for gambling (cards and mahjong blocks), and gather around the couch to talk and socialize. The children are either watching television, playing basketball, singing karaoke, and are even allowed to gamble.

Themes & Rules

One of the main themes with her family is religion. As observed in the genogram, you can notice that all of the family members from either side belong to the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ). Some of the rules associated with the Iglesia Ni Cristo include: going to church twice a week, participating in missionary work, no premarital sex, and not dating anyone outside the religion. Another main theme present within the genogram is smoking. Most of the males in the Agbayani side of the family smoke and combined with hypertension, this could lead to serious consequences and complications in the long run. Since smoking isn't illegal and since they have the money for it, it isn't really taken into consideration. The members of the family that don't smoke usually try to encourage the other members of the family to stop smoking. Since they are a traditional Filipino family, they don't go to outside sources (such as counseling or support groups) for help, instead they try to keep inside and deal with it only as a family. Another small and interesting theme is the fact that all the children's names of her grandparents on her father's side of the family start with the letter "R" and the fact that all the children's names of her grandparents on her mother's side start with the letter "L". There is no general rule to this theme and the only reason Filipinos do this is make it easier for parents and relatives to keep track of the children.




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