Madeleine Leininger was an early nursing thinker, nursing educator and developer of the idea of transcultural nursing. First published in 1960, her contributions to modern nursing theory deal specifically with what it means to care for people from other cultures. She also popularized the term multicultural nursing by emphasizing the idea that nurses, just like doctors, should be prepared to serve the entire patient population. In her book, “Mental Nursing”, she presents Madeleine's view of how nurses can effectively serve immigrants who come to the United States in search of better lives. She points out that while the primary concern of modern nurses is providing medical care, her book points out that they need to understand the cultural aspects of their work as well.
The emphasis Madeleine places on serving the whole patient is seen throughout her writings. In one book she discusses the need for nurses to have a strong international perspective. This can be seen in her concept of critical thinking. In another book, “Reflecting on International Nursing Practice”, she discusses the fact that a nurse's perception of a situation may differ depending upon her ethnicity, language, and even her country of origin. This is made especially clear in her discussion of emergency medicine, where she points out that the perspective of many nurses is that English is not the primary language of those in the developing countries and therefore it is not the most appropriate language of those suffering from emergencies.
Although it was not her main focus, Madeleine Leininger did have a major influence on nursing practices outside of the United States. Many nurses who were trained by and went to study under her at the University of Michigan, became prominent nurses all over the world. Leininger influenced American nursing practices in the way that doctors and other health care providers interact with patients and with each other. This is evident in the present-day nursing theory that centers on interprofessional relations.
Madeleines Leininger's work has had an enormous impact on our understanding of disease. A great number of her essays and written work is on diseases that have affected primarily children and adolescents. In addition, her emphasis on everyday kids' health has had a profound influence on modern approaches to child health and development. A good example of her work in this area would be the book: “The Little Doctor: A Practical Guide for Children and Adolescent Health.”
Madeleine Leininger is not, however, the first or only influential educator. Educational philosophies are still shifting all the time. It is interesting that Madeleine Leininger's influence is not limited to one area. As an educator, she has influenced many others. She was able to take many diverse ideas and mold them into cohesive concepts that would become major preoccupations in the field of education. There is no doubt that her impact continues to play a major role.
The ideas that Madeleine . . . . . . Leininger brought to light in the early 1960s have become a source of inspiration for many people in education today. As an educational consultant, I find myself thinking about all of the things she said and wrote. I also come across many other ideas and reflections in the written work of Madeleine Leininger. Her basic premise that health is wealth has impacted my thinking about how we should practice diet and nutrition. And her concept that the practice of healthy relationships is important to good health has inspired me to think more about how my own family and friends relate to one another.