Cultural competency, defined as health professionals’ ability to effectively provide care that meets patients’ linguistic, social, and cultural demands, is among the emerging nursing trends. Incorporating cultural proficiency into nursing practice is essential in overcoming the wide variety of health literacy, cultural, and linguistic barriers. Cultural competency integration goes beyond acknowledging patients’ different backgrounds; it entails the active process of considering individuals’ experiences and respecting the culture when offering treatment (Handtke et al., 2019). Therefore, a culturally proficient nurse should have a mental attitude, cognitive ability, and accomplishments that enable them to effectively care for patients from different heritages and provide them with appropriate healthcare services. This essay highlights the importance of cultural competency in nursing and provides a comprehensive discussion regarding its integration into diverse environments.
The Fundamental Nature of Culturally Competent Care in Nursing Practice
The benefits of demonstrating cultural competency extend beyond health care organizations to patients and other individuals. First, it helps healthcare practitioners provide appropriate healthcare services to meet patients’ needs. According to Jongen et al. (2018), cultural competence enhances communication between nurses and patients, which, in turn, triggers high patient satisfaction rates and patient-centeredness during healthcare provision. Increased cognizance and background of the conception mentioned above prevent healthcare professionals from stereotyping patients and possessing myopic thoughts. Cultural competence also enhances their capacity to offer quality services to all, irrespective of their belief or social status.
Second, culturally competent care facilitates strong nurse-patient relationships, which typically impact clients’ health-related outcomes. It promotes the development of a positive therapeutic association, which, according to Jongen et al. (2018), encompasses responding to clients’ unmet needs, developing trust, offering knowledgeable feedback, and showing empathy. Cultural proficiency is also instrumental in fostering community members’ inclusion in health-related initiatives, family and patients’ active involvement in health promotion activities, and enhancing mutual understanding and respect between clients and care providers.
Third, cultural proficiency among nurses can play a crucial role in minimizing the patient populace’s underlying healthcare disparities and promoting preventive care. Cultural competence further enhances patient data collection procedures and decreases the rates of medical visits, treatments, and medical errors. Lastly, cultural proficiency raises awareness among organizations and nurses regarding the diverse health needs of populations (Jongen et al., 2018). Having manifold standards or guidelines to address patients’ unique needs ensures they benefit from patient-centered care. It also enhances care service efficiency, helps nurses meet the regulatory and legal procedures related to their practice, and integrates differing perspectives, strategies, and conceptions into the care-related decision-making process.
The Relationship Between Cultural Competence and Diversity and Patient and Family-Centered Care
Diversity relates to the difference in human characteristics, such as ethnicity, culture, race, and socioeconomic background. At the same time, cultural competence implies a healthcare worker’s ability to deliver quality medical care to clients while exhibiting cultural awareness for their values, race, and beliefs. It entails being mindful of clients’ cultural variations and treating them with this knowledge in mind. Although diversity emphasizes the underlying differences between individuals, it does not highlight how they should be served within the healthcare system. Competency involves the existence and application of a variety of attitudes, beliefs, and principles of cultural variance that govern how nurses relate with diverse patients in a facility (Handtke et al., 2019). Cultural proficiency elements include valuing the underlying differences between individuals, being sentient of the inherent dynamics amid cultures, institutionalizing cultural cognizance, and reshaping service provision to demonstrate an understanding of new cultural insights and variations. Therefore, to be culturally adept, one needs to integrate the awareness of the existing differences between people into specific perspectives, practices, and standards to improve the service quality and achieve better outcomes by minimizing disparities.
Family and patient-centered care (FPCC) involves recognizing and evaluating care from clients and their households, and subsequently, tailoring care to meet their unique needs. Both cultural competency and FPCC focus on patients’ uniqueness and focus on improving health care qualityre (Jongen et al., 2018). However, they emphasize different aspects: FPCC aims to deliver individualized care and elevate quality care for all people. Contrarily, cultural proficiency seeks to reduce disparities and increase health equity by focusing on disadvantaged populations, such as people of color. From my experience, to provide individualized care, nurses should consider the diversity of patients’ views and, in doing so, promote equitable care. Similarly, cultural competency heightens nurses’ ability to address clients’ specific expectations and needs, making care more patient-centered.
Barriers to Providing Culturally Competent Care to a Diverse Population
Although there is a well-established necessity for cultural competency, its integration is not yet a reality in most health care settings. Among the primary barriers to culturally competent care are the lack of diversity within the health care workforce and its leadership. According to Jongen et al. (2018), minorities account for approximately twenty-eight percent of the U.S populace but only sixteen, three, and seventeen percent of the medical and public health school faculty, as well as county and city health offices, respectively. Furthermore, this populace segment is underrepresented within the senior health care management team and overall workforce. This is a significant concern because professionals within the minority community may be more likely to consider sociocultural aspects when planning healthcare delivery models to meet the aforementioned population’s segment’s needs.
Another significant obstacle involves the poorly designed care systems for diverse patient populaces. The current U.S care framework is poorly developed and too complicated; this, in turn, impacts its responsiveness to the various patient populace’s needs. Among the issues linked to the complex care model is language discordance between practitioners and clients (Handtke et al., 2019). Systems deprived of linguistically and culturally appropriate education materials and interpreter services trigger patient dissatisfaction, low-quality care, and poor understanding and adherence. Poor cross-cultural communication between patients and practitioners also represents a crucial barrier. When care providers fail to comprehend the underlying sociocultural variations during care delivery, trust and communication may negatively impact them. This may trigger dissatisfaction, poor medication adherence, stereotyping, and substandard health outcomes.
A recommendation for improving health promotion activities for a selected populace is improving the nurses’ cultural sensitivity and competency to the community’s traditional practices, including treatment options; this can be done through ongoing education. McElfish et al. (2017) endorse the viewpoint mentioned above by arguing that healthcare professionals can develop their cultural adeptness by pursuing lifelong learning and cross-cultural interactions. The strategy above can help promote open-mindedness and lack of prejudice among healthcare professionals during care delivery. Strong knowledge and background in culturally competent care can help prevent nurses from stereotyping patients irrespective of their beliefs and social status.
The contemporary healthcare environment demands that nurses work in culturally diverse communities and facilities. As a result, this augments the need for culturally competent nurses conversant with underlying differences between cultures and can deliver quality services to individuals from various ethnicities. To promote health in society, nurses should better understand the meaning of cultural competency and develop strategies to incorporate this conception into care delivery. Moreover, healthcare professionals should ensure that their practice standards evolve to meet the growing diverse population’s needs.
Handtke, O., Schilgen, B., & Mösko, M. (2019). Culturally competent healthcare: A scoping review of strategies implemented in healthcare organizations and a model of culturally competent healthcare provision. PLoS ONE, 14(7), 1–24. Web.
Jongen, C., McCalman, J., & Bainbridge, R. (2018). Health workforce cultural competency interventions: A systematic scoping review. BMC Health Services Research, 18(232), 1–15. Web.
McElfish, P., Long, C., Rowland, B., Moore, S., Wilmoth, R., & Ayers, B. (2017). Improving culturally appropriate care using a community-based participatory research approach: Evaluation of a multicomponent cultural competency training program, Arkansas, 2015-2016. Preventing Chronic Disease, 14, 1–20. Web.