The racial and ethnic composition in the United States is projected to change by 2060. Asian, African-American, and Hispanic populations are expected to rise to 9.1 percent, 15%, and 27%, respectively, but non-Hispanic whites are expected to decrease to 44.3% (Vespa et al., 2020). As the country’s demography becomes highly diverse, special attention to cultural obstacles to care is required. These population changes are expected to bring new challenges for nurses in providing culturally competent care.
Cultural competency refers to nurses’ ability to effectively deliver healthcare services that address patients’ cultural needs. Thus, nurses must be culturally aware of their patients’ linguistic and social differences to provide effective and quality-based care. It also requires understanding how socioeconomic status and health literacy can influence healthcare delivery (Jongen et al., 2018). Cultural competency enables nurses to comprehend how patients seek care and perceive their symptoms and preferences regarding treatment procedures.
Cultural competency involves embracing diversity to eradicate racial and ethnic health disparities. Acquiring cultural competency skills helps to serve the diverse patient population better. Developing cultural competency requires cultural training and direct cross-cultural interaction with patients (Jongen et al., 2018). These practices allow nurses to tailor care services according to patients’ values, preferences, and way of life. Nurses remain respectful and unbiased while caring for patients from culturally diverse backgrounds. Being culturally competent allows nurses to provide patient and family-centered care and increase compliance with treatment plans contributing to better health outcomes.
The beliefs and worldviews of patients from various cultural backgrounds are rooted within their language. Thus, language is essential for nurses to understand different cultural values, relate positively with patients, and meet their unique healthcare demands. In my nursing experience, patients from certain minority groups often become restless and stressed due to general medical conditions. In such cases, having a colleague in the nursing team who understands these patients’ unique backgrounds or communicates their language helps keep them relaxed, contributing to better treatment and positive health outcomes.
In conclusion, cultural competency fosters nurses’ cultural awareness of various cultural values to effectively respond to patients’ needs and encourage them to comply with the treatment plans. As a result, this assists nurses in individualizing healthcare services based on the patients’ diverse healthcare needs and preferences. Therefore, cultural competency makes patients feel respected and ensures that there are no cultural biases when delivering care.
Jongen, C., McCalman, J., & Bainbridge, R. (2018). Health workforce cultural competency interventions: A systematic scoping review. BMC Health Services Research, 18(1), 232. Web.
Vespa, J., Medina, L., & Armstrong, M. D. (2020). Demographic turning points for the United States: Population projections for 2020 to 2060. Census.gov. Web.