Introduction to Cultural Competency
Cultural Competency is not a skill to be added to the repertoire of a healthcare practitioner, it should be an integral part of his/her training and practice.
It is very important for any health professional/practitioner to understand their own and their patients’ culture in order to treat, communicate, and deliver a good service. Questions such as the following need to be addressed answered and practiced:
- What is cultural competency?
- Why is cultural competence important to health care providers?
- What are the barriers to achieving cultural competence in health care?
- What do we need to do in order to work effectively in a diverse environment?
The required needs include:
a) Cultural sensitivity of provider,
b) Organizational Awareness,
c) Societal Dynamics
All of these require skills of cross-cultural communication and cross-cultural conflict resolution on individual, group, and organizational levels.
Anand, R.(1999). Cultural Competence in Health Care: A Guide for Trainers. Washington: DC :National Multicultural Institute. NMCI.ORG
Coyne, C.(2001). Cultural Competency: Reaching Out to All Populations. PT Magazine, pp.44-50. October 2001.
Dennis,B.P.(2003). Incorporating Cultural Diversity in Nursing Care: An Action Plan. The ABNF Journal. P17-23. Illinois: Tucker Publishing. Glenn-Vega, A. (2002). Achieving a More Minority-friendly Practice. Family Practice Management. AAFP.ORG
For a complete training of Cultural Competence in Healthcare, please click on the link below. Think Cultural Health.org
Diversity is Otherness!
Cultural Diversity Makes America Strong!
Cultural Competence Presentation (MS PPT)
Cultural Competency Workshop
Any difference in demographics impacts health care and impacts both the concept and delivery of quality in health care. Health can be viewed as a social as well as a medical system. As with most other social systems in the United States, it was developed by a white Caucasian population with roots in Western Europe. Western Medicine, as practiced in the U.S., was derived from Greek and Anglo-European philosophy and scientific thought. This country’s notion on how to demonstrate caring and compassion; its definitions of health and wellness; and its beliefs about maintenance, prevention of illness, and cure were formed by Western European tradition, and then modified to suit the strongly individualistic U.S. social system.
So essentially, we cater to our Caucasian population. However, the multi-cultural health care environment in the U.S. today requires health care professionals to discard the assumption that all patients will evaluate the quality of the care they receive by this outdated and non-productive criterion. Equal care does not necessarily mean “same” care in a culturally diverse society. Hence, it is important that we commit to increasing the cultural and linguistic awareness of and sensitivity to cultural and linguistic differences of all members of the health professions.
Cultural Competency Workshop (PDF)