If you want to thrive in nursing, it is crucial to understand the importance of cultural competence. Nurses who recognize diversity in healthcare can deliver patient-centered care to any patient at any time. They can also deliver the best possible patient outcomes time and time again.
Now, let’s answer some of the biggest questions surrounding cultural competence in nursing.
What Is Cultural Competence in Nursing?
To understand cultural competence in nursing, it is important to define culture and its impact on nurses.
The term “culture” refers to a particular group’s norms, traditions, and values. In healthcare, many organizations try to build cultures that inspire nurses. To succeed, these organizations consider what nurses need to feel confident and comfortable at work. From here, they work in lockstep with nurses to establish cultures in which nurses can feel and perform their best.
Meanwhile, the term “competence” refers to the ability to do something successfully. Thus, if a healthcare organization is culturally competent, it can meet the needs of its staff and patients. And, if a nurse is culturally competent, they can deliver care that resonates with patients.
Why Is Cultural Competence in Nursing Important?
When you work as a nurse, you may come into contact with patients from a wide range of backgrounds. These patients have varying expectations, and you must treat them accordingly.
If you are culturally competent as a nurse, you can accommodate the needs of any patient. You’ll be able to use terms and phrases that a patient will understand. Plus, you can respect a patient’s cultural and religious beliefs that may conflict with a treatment plan. As a result, you can deliver unparalleled patient-centered care.
What Does It Take for a Nurse to Be Culturally Competent?
There are four elements of cultural competence in nursing:
- Awareness: Nurses must understand their biases and how they respond to patients with backgrounds and experiences that are different from their own.
- Attitude: Once nurses are aware of any biases they have, they can analyze their own belief systems to figure out why they have these biases. Next, nurses can take steps to revamp their belief systems as needed.
- Knowledge: Nurses can acknowledge if there is a disconnect between their belief systems and how they treat patients. After a nurse acknowledges this disconnect, he or she can gain the knowledge required to become culturally competent.
- Skills: Nurses can incorporate their cultural competence awareness, attitude, and knowledge into their day-to-day activities. Over time, they can develop the skills they need to be culturally competent.
How Can Nurses Improve Their Cultural Competence?
Some of the best things that nurses can do to become more culturally competent than ever before include:
- Consider a patient’s perspective. Understand the differences in perspectives that can exist between nurses and patients. Treat this individual with respect, no matter what a patient says or believes.
- Establish common ground with patients. In addition to learning about a patient’s unique point of view, a nurse can share part of their background with a patient. This can help bridge a cultural gap between a nurse and their patient.
- Continue to learn. Engage with colleagues to get insights into different cultures and how you can support and respect patients of myriad backgrounds.
At BOS Medical Staffing, we promote cultural competence in nursing. If you want to start a career as a nurse or advance your career in nursing, we can help you out, too. Check out our job board to see what nursing jobs we are currently offering.