How to Embrace Cultural Competence in Nursing

Cultural competence is the foundation on which great nurse-patient relationships are formed. Every healthcare professional should prioritize it. Though cultural competence is not new to nursing, the level of cultural diversity and exposure has changed.

Even though our world is being swallowed by globalization, nurses now need to be technically sound and experts in cultural competence.

Is Cultural Competence Necessary in Nursing?

Disparities in healthcare have been linked to cultural, economic and environmental differences. With cultural competence, nurses understand, communicate and offer healthcare services to people effectively. This is because it revolves around:

  • Understanding and perfecting nurse-patient relationships.
  • Understanding various cultural practices and world views.
  • Acquiring communication skills that promote cultural interactions.
  • Learning how to display positive attitudes towards diverse cultures

With cultural competence, you not only tolerate other people’s culture but also celebrate the cultural practices. This bridges the diversity gaps and helps in personalizing healthcare.

What Does Cultural Competence in Nursing Involve?

Would you like to offer culturally competent care? Consider the following:

  • Cultural Awareness– This is where you examine yourself and drop any prejudices you may have formed. Letting go of anything you hold against foreign cultures and embracing the right attitude. This helps you offer the best healthcare to all patients and clients.
  • Cultural Knowledge– This involves researching about a certain culture and beliefs to better understand how to interact with your patient.
  • Cultural Skill– Using the information you have regarding a specific culture to engage in a meaningful cross-cultural interaction with a patient.
  • Cultural Desire– Developing a strong motivation to educate yourself on other cultures. Learning how to open up to new people, accept their cultures and willingness to learn.
  • Cultural Encounter– This encourages nurses to get out of their comfort zone and try out new cultures and places. By interacting with people of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures, the nurses can improve their competence.

Tips of Improving Cultural Competence among Healthcare Professionals

As nurses and nurse leaders strive to be as culturally competent as possible, it’s important to note that it is a continuous process. It is not possible to have “total” cultural competence. However, the following tips can help one improve in cultural competence: 

Tip1. Embrace patience and Listening

Active listening in healthcare organizations, according to and research by Electron Physician improves communication. For instance, if a nurse who is not culturally competent may offer the wrong patient care due to language barriers. Taking time and effort to listen to a patients’ concerns helps nurses overcome potential conflicts.

Tip 2: Learn How Cultural Beliefs Can Impact Treatment.

Studies show that a nurse’s own culture affects the nurse-patient relationship. A nurse can assume a patient’s culture due to dressing or appearance, which can affect healthcare provision. Therefore, employers should ensure that their nurses have adequate knowledge and skills on cultural competence.

Tip 3: Maintain Organizational Cultural Competence

The book Improving Cultural Competence highlights that each organization should be aware of how it functions within a multicultural environment. Organizations should provide great services consistently to racially and ethnically diverse patients. Continuous evaluation of organizational culture is a great step to maintaining a culturally competent organization.

Cultural Competency Courses for Nurses

The Network Nurse is at the forefront of promoting cultural competence within the healthcare sector. We aim to ensure all healthcare professionals are fully equipped to offer care to patients from diverse backgrounds.Register for the cultural competency course now and get prepared to work in today’s modern and changing health care environment.


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As part of her contributions towards strengthening the nursing workforce, Tonika Bruce, a registered nurse, and best-selling author, gives a detailed overview of how to reposition the nursing profession for a post-COVID era. 

The strength of nurses lies in their vital role in patient care, advances in nursing technologies, and feasibility of resources but there are a few implications for them.