The Importance of Cultural Competence in Nursing

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Culture and Healthcare

Culture is a composition of ideas, values, and norms of a particular group of people. In healthcare institutions, healthcare providers who include nurses are from different cultures. Clients who visit the hospital are also from diverse cultures. Therefore, it is essential for the nurses to learn how to provide care to patients from various cultures without any conflicts. The essay is a review of literature about culture whereby various nursing interventions required in cultural disparities are expounded.

The Importance of Cultural Competency

The concept of cultural competency has become an essential element in nursing education and practice. Various nursing boards now emphasize the importance of culturally competent nurses through training due to the increase in the quality of care given to clients (Smith, 2013). A nurse is educated on the different client's cultural values and how to provide proper care without their values interfering. The client's values and beliefs are incorporated into the plan for care. As much as nurses are taught theory in class on providing care, they also need to learn about the generic care needed at the community level. Examples of generic care are herbal medicine, spices in food, and spiritual care.

Transcultural Nursing and Building Trust

A culturally proficient nurse must assess a client to learn an individual's distinct characteristic and the values that they acquired from down their generation. Understanding a patient's culture will build rapport and hence trust which increases patient and family cooperation in care provision. To practice transcultural nursing, a nurse should try to understand their own culture and appreciate cultural differences. The practice will ensure that he or she provides care without having stereotypes (Collins, 2015). In the world today, different people are migrating from one place to another, and there is a need for a culturally experienced nurse to serve the population. There are various interventions considered to improve cultural competency. The interventions include understanding the client's culture, building trust, availing professional translators, and evaluating cultural aptitude.

Promoting Cultural Competence

For a nurse to provide culturally competent care to patients, there are certain interventions considered. First, the nurse should understand the culture of the client she is required to provide care to. The biological, physical, social, spiritual, environmental, political and economic characteristics should be taken into account. The healthcare norms that nurses are required to apply in providing care also exist. These values may at times conflict with the patient's values hence healthcare providers need to find common ground for delivering care. For example, the nursing manual for practice does not dictate the gender to provide a particular procedure. Male nurses may also provide gynecological care which may not be accepted in various cultures. Thus, the nurse should incorporate the client's beliefs into the nursing values (Collins, 2015).

Professional Medical Interpreters

According to Collins (2015), the United States is becoming a state with diversified languages due to the immigration of people in the attempt to look for better employment. The healthcare facilities will be receiving different cultural oriented clients. Professional medical interpreters will be required to help in interpreting patient's messages and medical data. The nurse should inquire from the patients about their language preferences. If the client is physically disadvantaged, the interpreter should come in and help in communication between the nurse and the patient. During the process, the nurse should be facing the patient and not the translator. The nurse should also avoid using medical jargons that the patient will not understand. The translator, on the other hand, should be ethically aware of client's confidentiality.

Continuous Training and Evaluation

The nurse should be aware of the current principles and procedures on the provision of culturally competent care. Training opportunities should be provided by nursing schools and health organizations to update them on the recent trends constantly. At the national level, the government should make the issue a national health priority and provide enough resources to tackle the issue.

According to Smith (2013), cultural proficiency evaluation is critical. The nurse should check if the patients understand their sickness and the treatment that would be required. He or she should assess how the client's values and norms will influence the care provided. Another consideration is whether he or she showed respect for the patient and family. The healthcare team is evaluated based on the extent it created an open and trusting environment for the client. A self-directed evaluation should be done to weigh whether the practitioner adhered to the cultural competence guidelines and standards. Finally, the facility should conduct a general appraisal to determine if the quality of care is improving or deteriorating.

Building Trust in Patient-Nurse Relationships

Constructing trust is a key intervention in ensuring that care provided is ethnically competent. For instance, when people trust each other, they tend to be open to information sharing and comfortable in the interaction. The same applies to patients and healthcare providers when a patient arrives at the hospital, the nurse should be accepting, welcoming and empathetic. The reception alone enable the determines the patient's attitude since the hospital is an unfamiliar environment and has many other unpleasing activities occurring according to the patient's perspective. The patient will become less anxious and develop a trusting relationship with the nurse. Subsequently, it will be easier to inquire about the ailment and provide the appropriate treatment (Smith, 2013).


In summary, culture is an important human characteristic that should be treasured because it determines our individuality. In providing health services, culture is a very important consideration. Various individuals interpret illness in different ways according to their beliefs. Therefore, patient management will vary considerably among them. Instead of suppressing the cultural differences in the hospitals the nurses should promote awareness and show patients that it is okay to be different and still receive equal care.


Collins, J. (2015). Nursing Cultural Competencies: Improving Patient Care Quality and Satisfaction. Ohio nurses review, 90(1), 10-11.

Smith, L. S. (2013). Reaching for cultural competence. Nursing2017, 43(6), 30-37.

October 13, 2023

Culture Health

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