Let’s answer the question: What is Cultural Competence?

cultural competence in nursing

Cultural competence means you are able to see and appreciate the differences among people from other cultures.  In healthcare, cultural competence is important because it requires you to carefully consider how you deliver your skilled care while being mindful of the beliefs and values of the people you are helping.

We demonstrate our cultural competence in a number of ways:

  • Acknowledging the beliefs of others may be different from ours
  • Accepting cultural differences between coworkers and patients
  • Showing others you value them regardless of race, gender, or culture.
  • Learning about other cultures and broadening our perspective. 

Delivering Nonjudgmental Patient Care

Understanding how different cultures and beliefs play a role in the delivery of healthcare is essential to developing cultural competence in the workplace.

This starts with clinicians performing self-assessments as a way to evaluate how they are treating others.  Are you aware of any behaviors that may cause others to feel neglected, devalued, or threatened because of a cultural difference?

Taking the time for self reflection and self assessment is the first step to improving cultural competence. 

Why is Cultural Competence in Nursing Important?

We all have unique backgrounds and experiences that add value to our role as health care providers.  Our culture influences the way we interact with others, but it’s important to understand that people of other cultures may respond differently to certain behavior or situations.  In a healthcare setting, our goal is to provide the best possible care for our patients. Cultural competence allows us to provide this care while being sensitive and respectful of the differences that make us all unique. 

How to Improve Cultural Competence in Nursing Care

Providing cultural competence continuing education course material to staff is one way to ensure the entire team learns together.  Reinforcing these principles regularly in staff meetings along with annual recertification is another helpful practice for keeping cultural competence top of mind in the workplace.

Free Continuing Education Course for Cultural Competence in Nursing

As free continuing education courses become available, it will be added to the list below: 

Nurse.com: Earn 1 credit hour with this free continuing education course

CEUFast.com : Current Practice Course

Think Cultural Health : Nursing Care: A Cornerstone of Caring

MedBridge Education: Cultural Course