How To Cultivate Cultural Competence In Nursing

The nursing industry primarily depends on cultures that determine how a patient needs to be treated. Because we are surrounded by such diverse cultures, nursing can be a difficult job. Everyone is familiar with the culture they are born in and brought up to practice. However, in the field of nursing, often times, patients with a different cultural background are to be dealt with. In such situations, there is a need of cultural competence.

There are many ways in which nursing cultures are compromised, some of which include discrimination, prejudice and racism. Insensitivity towards a certain patient because of cultural barrier can occur without purpose or intent. Here are ways in which multi-cultural acceptance and respect can be encouraged.

  • Keep your opinions to yourself. If you have a comment for a certain aspect of a patient’s life that does not concern medicine or health, keep it to yourself. You are not the judge here and for that matter, there might be a lot of things in your culture that other people might find strange. So give everyone the benefit of doubt. If it is absolutely necessary, you can in a reasonable way ask for explanations. But that also only if required.
  • Inquire of your patient his/her knowledge about ailments and their treatments. Moreover, do not in any way, directly, or indirectly, undermine any patient’s support group. They are perhaps the closest people that person has and will be the only people he/she will seek comfort in so.
  • Know the family dynamics of the patient’s cultural norms. There many patriarchal cultures where the breadwinning men make all the decisions. This may even include the kind of treatment that the patient may get. So, respect that.
  • You may even come across a few matriarchal family structures. In any case, the scenario will vary and to make it easy for you and them, it would be ideal if you have some knowledge on your patient’s culture.
  • The most significant aspect of all is trust. It is imperative that you find a way to gain your patient’s trust to improve his/her treatment and know all you can about the patient’s health. This can only be achieved once the above are followed. Once the patient feels comfortable in your company, he/she will automatically trust you with information that he/she might have avoided telling earlier.

Thus, in conclusion, nursing, cultures and competence are interlinked to provide the best care.

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