Cultural Diversity and Competency
Cultural diversity is an important concept in the nursing practice. It ensures that nurses accord quality health care services to patients without discrimination or prejudice. Cultural diversity is a broad term that envisages inherent differences relating to factors such as gender, race, disability, age, and ethnicity of patients seeking medical services in healthcare facilities. The mentioned actors may establish barriers to access to healthcare services. Indeed, nurses operate under a strict code of ethics, expecting them to provide holistic care to all patients regardless of their cultural attributes. Nurses need to understand the significance of cultural diversity and how it influences the nursing profession to achieve universal access to healthcare services. Therefore, cultural diversity and competence bridge the gap caused by cultural differences to guarantee the provision and access to quality services to patients.
Cultural diversity represents the cultural differences and how individuals and groups vary depending on specific ethnic, racial, and cultural attributes. According to Creech, Filter, Wehbe-Alamah, McFarland, Andrews & Pryor (2017), diversity constitutes the inherent differences between patients and nurses with regard to their ages, gender, origin, religion, sexual characteristics, and socio-economic endowment. Regarding nursing practice, cultural diversity requires nurses to recognize and be conscious of their cultural attributes towards people drawn from other cultural groups. Creech et al. (2017) believe that matters bordering on race debates have morphed into problematic issues potentially creating conflicts and misconstruction among cultural groups in the society. Thus, nurses need to comprehend the differences between ethnicity and race and how these factors influence the nursing profession.
Culture has a substantial influence on health-related beliefs and practices. Per Sorensen, Norredam, Dogra, Essink-Bot, Suurmond, & Krasnik (2017), nurses utilize patients’ attributes like language, demography, socio-economic status, and gender to make accurate assessments and diagnoses during the provision of holistic care. Similarly, nurses’ beliefs and values may influence the nature of the services they provide to their patients. Taylor, Lillis, Lynn, & LeMone (2014) identify core areas of cultural diversity that influence nursing practice and the provision of competent care. These areas include health insurance and access, racial and minority communities, mental health, the elderly, and obesity (Taylor et al., 2014). The patients drawn from the mentioned core areas may experience barriers to receiving appropriate and competent care due to cultural differences. As such, nurses should be able to deliver culturally competent care and prepare to eradicate the barriers likely to inhibit healthcare access. Additionally, nurses should understand how to accommodate patients’ cultural beliefs regarding conventional medical practices (Sorensen et al., 2017). Hence, acknowledging cultural differences reduces barriers to healthcare access and positively impacts patient outcomes.
Instances of Multicultural Incompetence
I have witnessed multicultural incompetence in academic and personal settings. I have witnessed nurse educators refer to traditional culture during learning sessions. International students are negatively affected by nurse educators’ decisions to use traditional culture as the basis of learning in the classroom. The learning experience of international students is affected, and they only receive information instead of enthusiastically participating in classroom settings (Sorensen et al., 2017). I believe nurse educators should foster interactional relationships with their students to help them express themselves freely in classrooms. Aggressive and abusive communication among peers represents another multicultural incompetence I have witnessed in personal settings. I have observed abusive and aggressive forms of non-verbal communication used against students from minority communities. The non-verbal cues constituting abusive and aggressive communication among students include eye-rolling, loud yawning, and aggressive postures (Sorensen et al., 2017). I believe these forms of communication are not culturally sensitive and should be challenged by nurse students.
Cultural diversity encompasses the differences in cultural attributes of nurses and patients. It is embedded in the relationships that nurses establish with their patients. Cultural values, beliefs, and customs can establish barriers to access to healthcare services. Nurses need to provide the same quality of healthcare services to patients regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, disability, socioeconomic status, and education. Referring to traditional culture in the classroom is an example of multicultural incompetence that disadvantages international students who consequently fail to participate in classroom activities. Aggressive and abusive non-verbal communication is another incompetence that influences the interaction between peers.
Creech, C., Filter, M., Wehbe-Alamah, H., McFarland, M., Andrews, M., & Pryor, G. (2017). An intervention to improve cultural competence in graduate nursing education. Nursing Education Perspectives, 38(6), 333–336.
Sorensen, J., Norredam, M., Dogra, N., Essink-Bot, M., Suurmond, J., & Krasnik, A. (2017). Enhancing cultural competence in medical education. International Journal of Medical Education, 8, 28–30.
Taylor, C., Lillis, C., Lynn, P., & LeMone, P. (2014). Fundamentals of Nursing, 8th edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.