Sample Nursing Essay on Cultural Competence in Healthcare

Cultural Competence in Healthcare


In healthcare settings, cultural competence refers to the ability to offer health care services that suit a patient’s social, cultural, and linguistic needs.  In this regard, responsiveness to a patient’s beliefs and practices is paramount in ameliorating health care outcomes. Thus, healthcare centers that emulate cultural competence as a result of the diverse patient populations are far much equipped in improving the quality of care as opposed to those who fail to do so.          The diverse backgrounds of patients require health officials to effectively interact with them to improve patient engagement and overcome disparities that can be barriers to quality care.

Fundamental Aspect of Culturally Competent Care in Nursing Practice

Culturally competent care is fundamental to nursing practice. Culture influences both the healthcare practices and the perception of illnesses by patients. In fact, the American Medical Association (2015) asserts that cultural respect is pivotal in the reduction of healthcare disparities and promotion of access to quality care for diverse patients. Further, a report by Commonwealth Fund emphasizes the need for healthcare providers to be sensitive and responsive to the cultures of patients as it improves patients’ outcomes. Consequently, culturally competent care is instrumental in establishing a good rapport with patients which is vital in assessing the needs of patients and recommending appropriate interventions. Therefore, culturally competent care cannot be ignored in the provision of quality of care especially in a diverse population where the culture of patients and their families matter.

Relationship Between Cultural Competence and Diversity as Well as Patient and Family-Centered Care

Cultural competency and diversity, as well as patient and family-centered care, are closely related concepts in the nursing practice. Diversity and cultural competency are related by the reason that a diverse population or nation enhances the need to deliver culturally competent services. As such, the services are central to the patient as well as the family. At the core of patient and family centeredness, a healthcare provider should be able to view a patient and his/her family as unique and therefore maintain unconditional positive regard (Journal of Healthcare Management, 2017). Thus, a care provider should embrace the psychosocial model and explore patients’ beliefs and values to determine a common ground for treatment. Further, cultural competence and patient-centeredness seek to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities that have been evident in healthcare where some patients have been biased by race.

Barriers to Providing Culturally Competent Care

            Irrespective of the efforts by healthcare providers to utilize cultural competence in improving the quality of care, there are barriers to providing culturally competent care. Conversely, communication is a major challenge in addressing the quality of care among patients. Effective communication is an essential key to safe and quality care. Relationships between caregivers and patients rely on effective communication which leads to patient satisfaction and adherence to medical recommendations. According to Health Research & Educational Trust (2015), communication is more effective when it addresses patients’ needs, values and preferences. On the other hand, some of the factors that can influence communication include cultural differences, low health literacy, and language differences. For instance, the cultural setting of Saudi Arabia is uniquely blended with Islamic values and beliefs. The uniqueness of the Saudi culture coupled with the high number of expatriates with limited knowledge of beliefs in the country is likely to cause a potential cultural conflict


With time, the belief that health outcome is greatly determined by considerations outside the traditional healthcare setting is increasingly becoming acceptable. The social determinants of health (SDH) emphasize the relevance of non-clinical conditions in offering quality care. A selected population such as an ethnic minority group exhibits adverse SDH and is disproportionately represented among the uninsured. A report published by the Institute of Medicine affirmed that racial/ethnic disparities are evident in healthcare. A possible mitigation for the underlying challenge is by increasing the number of underrepresented minority groups in the healthcare workforce.  Adjusting the proportion of minority groups in the healthcare sector will significantly reduce the adverse effects of disparities because the group will be represented by the corresponding minority group healthcare providers. Additionally, cross-cultural education should be included in the curriculum while advancing research on identifying all sources of disparities that lower the quality of care in the selected group.


            Cultural competence pertains to caring for people across different cultures and languages. It is undeniable that considering patients’ cultures and values greatly impacts the quality of care and the consequent recovery process. Provision of culturally competent care targets patient and family centeredness which implies that a healthcare provider considers the beliefs and values of both the patient and family in determining the most appropriate care. Nevertheless, communication is a major hindrance in attaining culturally competent care because of cultural differences, low health literacy, and language differences. Given that disparities still exist especially to minority groups, it would be recommendable to adopt more minority group healthcare providers in healthcare. The approach will improve the quality of care for the selected group.


American Medical Association. (2015). Cultural competence compendium. Chicago, IL:                         American Medical Association.

Health Research & Educational Trust. (2015). Becoming a culturally competent health care organization. Health Research & Educational Trust1(4), 1-8.

Journal of Healthcare Management. (2017, June). CAS – Central Authentication Service. Retrieved from