Cultural Barriers in Nursing Practice

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Nurses and Cultural Competency

Nurses are faced with various challenges in today's healthcare environment while they are trying to provide culturally competent care to all patients regardless of their cultural background. Cultural barrier acts as one of the most common challenges. In this perspective, nurses should have a clear knowledge of the patient's culture and thus incorporate it as a broader part of treatment plan (Jeffreys, 2015). Through this, there is an assurance of respect for the values and lifeways of various cultures in nursing practice. Without being aware of the influence of values related to various cultures, nurses can end up engaging in cultural imposition. Therefore, it would be admissible to indicate that the delivery of culturally competent care is a vital aspect of nursing practice. In this regard, the following essay seeks to explore various aspects related to cultural barriers that are experienced in nursing practice.

Barriers to Cultural Competence in Nursing Practice

What barriers to cultural competence are witnessed in nursing practice and what can be done to ignite change?

In various cases, the necessity for cultural competency in nursing is well articulated. However, the integration of cultural competence in the provision of care is not yet a veracity. This is because of the existence of factors in clinical settings that pose barriers to the integration of culturally competent care. Communication language barrier is one of the most common factors that hinder cultural competency in nursing practice. Before highlighting how language barriers lead to the hindrance of culturally competent care, it is vital to indicate that effective communication is essential in the provision of good care to all patients (Kim & Kim, 2013). Lack of proper communication due to language barrier can lead to misdiagnosis as well as indecorous treatment. Further, a language barrier can cause misunderstanding, which can lead to emotional, physical, and spiritually related suffering. In order to ignite change, it is imperative to include strategies for ensuring there is effective communication. For instance, if a patient does not understand English, it would be important for a nurse to pay attention to the patient's body language as well as other non-verbal cues. Nurses should understand that effective communication is the key to the establishment of a recommended nurse-patient relationship regardless of whether the two speak the same language or not. Eliminating language barriers will provide a path through which safe and effective care can be attained. Cultural differences can also be a barrier to the accomplishment of culturally competent care. Becoming culturally competent in nursing practice can be viewed as a developmental process (Montenery et al., 2013). Encapsulating personal attributes, nursing knowledge, and skills can lead to an increased level of cultural competence in nursing.

Values, Beliefs, and Practices in Cultural Diversity in Nursing

How do values, beliefs, and practices about health and healthcare relate to cultural diversity in nursing?

The importance of incorporating cultural diversity in nursing cannot be underestimated. In particular, cultural diversity ensures universal access to healthcare is achieved. However, all cultures have different healthcare beliefs, values, and practices that explain various aspects related to healthcare such as causes of illnesses, treatment, and who should be involved in the treatment. Thus, values and practices related to cultural diversity in nursing play a major role in administering care to all populations (Purnell, 2012). These values, beliefs, and practices are different depending on the cultural background of a patient, which elucidates the aspect of cultural diversity. In nursing, values, beliefs, and practices are related to cultural diversity since they provide a framework through which transcultural nursing can be understood as a way of providing culturally competent care.


Jeffreys, M. R. (2015). Teaching cultural competence in nursing and health care: Inquiry, action, and innovation. Springer Publishing Company.

Kim, D. H., & Kim, S. E. (2013). Cultural competence and factors influencing cultural competence in nursing students. Journal of Korean Academy of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 22(3), 159-168.

Montenery, S. M., Jones, A. D., Perry, N., Ross, D., & Zoucha, R. (2013). Cultural competence in nursing faculty: A journey, not a destination. Journal of Professional Nursing, 29(6), e51-e57.

Purnell, L. D. (2012). Transcultural health care: A culturally competent approach. FA Davis.

October 13, 2023

Culture Health



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