Cultural Competency in Nursing


The relationship between nurses and their clients determine theresults of intervention and, therefore, it is important to assess howthe differences in cultural practices and beliefs influence therelationship. The relationship is affected by conceptual, behavioraland cultural levels. Conceptual level involves client’s and nurse’sperception of honesty, sincerity, empathy, motivation and openness.Behavioral level includes client’s perception of the nurse’sprofessional competence and the nurse’s perception of the abilityof the patient to self-implement the treatment plan. Cultural levelis categorized into cultural compatibility and universalisticargument (Hitchcock, Schubert, &amp Thomas, 2003). According tocultural compatibility, the assessment and intervention withinmulticultural groups, such the American population, should beenhanced to minimize racial and ethnic barriers between nurses andclients. Based on universality “…effective assessment andintervention will be the same across all multicultural groupsindependent of client-nurse racial and ethnic differences orsimilarities…” (Hitchcock et al., 2003). Assessment and treatmentof multicultural groups are influenced by the nurse’s ability todisplay both cultural sensitivity and cultural competence.

Cultural diversityis a dominant feature of various populations in the world and has asignificant impact on the nursing care quality. Therefore, severalmodels of service care delivery have been developed to address theweaknesses in the multiethnic populations today. Cultural competencyis among the service models that emerged to address health carechallenges. Hitchcock et al., (2003) describe cultural competence asthe “…process of creating awareness of one’s existence,sensations, thoughts and environment to understand and accept clientsfrom a different culture”. Cultural competence is a continuousprocess that involves skills, practices, and attitudes that aredirected towards positive health outcomes. Cultural competence is adynamic process that demands that both the nurse and clientunderstand the cultural similarities and differences between them.This service delivery model helps in reducing culturaldiscrimination, which is an important factor affecting health carequality (Suzan, &amp Josepha, 2008).

According toSrivastava, (2007), culture has a significant influence on thequality of health care as it determines how illnesses is perceivedand experienced, the symptoms reported, remedies sought and those whoare consulted during the period. In populations consisting of severalraces and ethnic groups, health care providers find it difficult tounderstand and accommodate all the ethnocultural health beliefs andexpectations of their clients. The way health and illness areperceived varies across various cultural situations. It is theresponsibility of nurses to ensure that the service is delivery atthe best interest of their clients. Through a study of culturalcompetency in nursing, Beach et al., (2015) found that culturalcompetence in nursing influences patient satisfactory. The clientwould prefer health care provider who respects and consider his/hercultural beliefs when delivering service care.

There is growing theneed for knowledge and understanding of various cultural groups innursing. Since understanding and accommodating all the ethnoculturalbeliefs and practices, some of which may be perceived as odd isdifficult, health care providers should be subjected to regularcultural competence training. The training enables healthcarepractitioners to improve their knowledge, attitudes and skills thatenhance health care services to various cultural groups. Culturalcompetence enables nurses and clients establish effectiveinterpersonal and working relationships that surpass culturaldifferences. Nurses should recognize the importance of social andcultural influences on patients, consider how these factors interactand develop ways that enable them to deliver client-based health careservice.


Beach et al. (2005), Cultural Competency: A Systematic Review ofHealth Care Provider Educational Interventions, Med Care,Volume 43, Issue 4, page 356-373

Hitchcock, J. E., Schubert, P. E., &amp Thomas, S. A.(2003).&nbspCommunity health nursing: Caring in action.Australia: Thomson/Delmar Learning.

Srivastava, R. (2007).&nbspThe healthcare professional`s guide toclinical cultural competence. Toronto: Mosby Elsevier.

Suzan K. &amp Josepha C, 2008), Cultural competency of graduating USBachelor of Science nursing students, Contemporary Nurse,Volume 28, Issue 1

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