Culture is everywhere around us. Cultural competence is one of the concepts invoked to explain aspects of human behavior and human misunderstanding. It is a concept that suggests ways for managing situations that involve people from different cultural backgrounds. Even though we are surrounded by cultural competence concepts, they do not always know how they should behave. We do not always comprehend how to put into practice the positive approach of cultural competence or recognize why it is required. Nursing practice requires us to interact with individuals from diverse backgrounds; thus, we are constantly under pressure to competently handle ourselves in cross-cultural circumstances (Stevenson, 2007). This paper discusses a description of findings from my cultural self-assessment in a clinical setting, a discussion of both spiritual and ethical issues required in the assessment of culture, and steps to improve the delivery of cultural competence.
A Description of Findings of Cultural Self Assessment
Practitioners of medical care increasingly are acknowledging the importance of culture in their relationships with patients and colleagues. As world population becomes more diverse, practitioners of health care find circumstances in which their patients’ cultural backgrounds are strikingly different from their own. Therefore, skills that improve the abilities of the caregivers to acknowledge different cultural values, beliefs and practices and incorporate such factors into intervention are likely to lead to more successful treatment outcomes. Professionals in health care should place great importance on such skills not only for the reason of the client population becoming diverse, but also due to a more diverse group of people is joining the profession of health care (Bonder, 2002).
Routinely, educational standards for medical care professionals include cultural competence as a requirement for training. Examples include; the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Standards for accreditation of an Occupational Therapy Educational Program, and the Evaluative Criteria for Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Preparation of Physical Therapists (Bonder, 2002); both recognize the significance of cultural sensitivity for practitioner training. Professions such as American Psychological Association and American Medical Association, specifically attempt to identify the attributes of cultural competence (Bonder, 2002). Most of their programs focus on cultural issues, such as, cultural diversity. Sustained emphasis on client-centered goal and treatment, culture has been embraced as central emphasis for treatment (Stevenson, 2007).
Spiritual and Ethical Issues to be Considered in Clinical Practice
Spiritual and ethical are very necessary for the assessment of culture in health care settings. The application of spiritual issues in medical practice happens in the broader ethical and cultural contexts of medical care. Cultural competence is one of the contexts that assist to define the parameters of appropriate health care. Ethical medical practice is the first context for the application of spiritual issues in clinical practice. Contemporary ethical practice has moved from excluding religion in medical care to requiring that health caregivers respect religion as an orienting framework in the patient’s life. Cultural competence care challenges caregivers to properly assess, become knowledgeable, and respect the spiritual and religious orientations of a patient’s life (Stevenson, 2007).
Second, the ethical standards challenge every health care provider to get necessary training to demonstrate competence in understanding spiritual and religious roles in their patients’ lives. Besides taking coursework on cultural, racial, ethnic, or racial diversity, they should also get training in spiritual and religious diversity. Ethical practice recognizes the central role religion plays in a patient’s life and demands that caregivers show awareness, sensitivity, and respect for the religious beliefs of clients (Stevenson, 2007).
A plan of Realistic Steps to Improve Cultural Competence Care Delivery
Culturally competent care makes clients move forward toward enhanced quality of life. It is important because of the growing diversity of staff, clients and communities. Everybody, regardless of race, ethnicity, or religious background, has a cultural heritage that should be understood and respected (Bonder, 2002). As a health care practitioner, I can take the following realistic steps to improve my ability to deliver competent care: first, I will determine why diversity is an important issue. Assessment of the factors of cultural diversity, such as aging, increasingly varied workforce, will be necessary for the discovery of new and creative ways of teaching, learning and implementing culturally competent care (Bonder, 2002).
The second step will involve the measurement and documentation of cultural competence. There will be a need to apply empirical research on the identification of cultural competence. Reliable cultural competence tools, such as, Cultural Knowledge-Based Questions can be used. Once I have created a reliable and competent tool of cultural competence, the next step is to develop a cultural competence program and administer it to health caregivers. To get compliance, the need to promise complete anonymity is required by asking for job titles but not specific names. Staff will be asked: to describe their cultural competence and its value to their work; identify program format, and explain their short and long-term needs for the development of cultural competence.
In sum, a health caregiver must be able to bridge the cultural gaps among my fellow staff members and patients to be efficient. Therefore, skills that enhance the abilities of the caregivers to acknowledge different cultural values, beliefs and practices and incorporate such factors into intervention are likely to result in more successful intervention outcomes.
Bonder, B., Martin., & Miracle, A. (2002). Culture in Clinical Care. New York: SLACK Incorporated.
Stevenson, D. (2007). Psychology of Christianity Integration. New York: Psychology and Christianity.