Nurses have an extremely challenging job that demands not only medical but also cultural knowledge. Nurses work with people from various backgrounds and can experience misunderstandings with patients whose background is different from their own. Therefore, it is vital for nurses and other medical professionals to be aware of their patients’ cultures. This paper will examine cultural competence in healthcare settings and reflect on the personal philosophy of nursing.
Cultural Competence in Healthcare
Globalization has led to unprecedented cultural diversity in the United States. As people from different backgrounds seek healthcare, nurses’ failure to understand their patients’ cultural norms can result in low-quality care. Cultural competence in healthcare is medical professionals’ ability to obtain and apply knowledge about different cultures to provide effective and safe medical care (Sharifi et al., 2019). There are several constructs of cultural competence, each of the constructs helps better understand how cultural competence is used in healthcare and how it can improve the healthcare experience for the patients.
A culturally competent nurse should have a desire to learn about other cultures. Cultural desire is the motivation to acquire knowledge about diverse cultural groups (Fitzgerald & Campinha-Bacote, 2019). This is arguably the most critical construct of cultural competence. It is impossible to become mindful of other people’s customs and traditions and deliver high-quality care to patients from different backgrounds without the desire to learn more about other cultures. Cultural awareness refers to one’s understanding and critical reflection of their own cultural and possible biases and preconceptions (Fitzgerald & Campinha-Bacote, 2019). It should be recognized that the everyday experiences of people from different backgrounds differ significantly. In healthcare settings, assumptions about patients from various backgrounds should not impair the quality of care. Therefore, every healthcare professional should critically assess their prejudices and misconceptions to provide an equal standard of care to all the patients.
Cultural knowledge and skill are two constructs of cultural competence that significantly depend on each other. Cultural knowledge is the acquisition of knowledge about various cultural groups and customs (Fitzgerald & Campinha-Bacote, 2019). Cultural skill is the capacity to correctly assess the situation within a healthcare organization and how it affects its employees and clients (Fitzgerald & Campinha-Bacote, 2019). Without knowledge about diverse cultural groups, a healthcare organization cannot accurately assess what it lacks to deliver care to patients. It is important to create a hospitable environment for healthcare workers from different backgrounds who can enhance the organization’s cultural knowledge. In addition, cultural encounters with patients and coworkers from different cultural groups can prevent stereotyping and change the existing ideas about different cultural groups (Fitzgerald & Campinha-Bacote, 2019). Interaction with people from diverse backgrounds is the most efficient way to learn about their culture and prevent misconceptions.
St. Thomas University is an institution that acknowledges the diversity of its staff and students and creates a hospitable environment for people from different cultural backgrounds. Personally, the transcultural focus of the nursing programs has enabled me as a nursing student to appreciate the importance of learning more about different cultures. It has also shown how vital this knowledge is in nursing practice. My personal belief is that learning about different cultures allows us to understand the patients better and provide them with better care. Moreover, this can help support their mental health during their hospital stay, which is crucial to the patients’ overall well-being. The first step to implement these beliefs in the future is to research the area and familiarize me with the cultural groups I might have a chance to work with during my nursing practice. Learning about the healthcare experiences of people from different cultural backgrounds will also help me become more culturally competent. Overall, culturally competent nursing is crucial for modern nursing practice and allows nursing practitioners to better understand their patients’ needs and deliver better care.
Fitzgerald, E., & Campinha-Bacote, J. (2019). An intersectionality approach to the process of cultural competemility – Part II. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 24(2), 1. Web.
Sharifi, N., Adib-Hajbaghery, M., & Najafi, M. (2019). Cultural competence in nursing: A concept analysis. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 99(1), 1-8. Web.