Cultural Humility and Competence in Nursing

In every field of practice, nurses are professionals who have ethics to respect and mind every individual’s culture. Nurses must value each person’s culture and consider how culture may result in a person’s experience in health care care and the service system. Cultural competence is a set of compatible policies, behaviors, and attitudes that unite in an agency, within a professional or system, and enable the professionals, agency, or plan to effectively work in cross-cultural situations. Cultural competence should be a requirement to entry-to-practice for nurses with the ongoing development in professionalism. However, cultural humility is a self-reflection process to develop and maintain respectful operations and relations founded on mutual trust and understanding of systematic and personal biases.

Cultural safety is a result that is founded on engagements that are respectful and that strive and recognize the power imbalances that exist in the healthcare system. Thus, it results in an environment where people feel safe while receiving health care services since the environment is free of discrimination and racism. Each person has a different culture, and it is everyone’s responsibility to respect their culture. This essay discusses how healthcare workers observe cultural humility, safety, and competence as they offer their services to patients.

There are diverse cultures within the society, and each person has the right to be respected in terms of their background. In the healthcare system, there has been discrimination regarding diversity in the cultures. In this case, I happened to offer health care to a member of the LGBT society (Hughes et al., 2020). The physical environment has been discriminating against people belonging to this society. These people have discordant perspectives; thus, the physical environment may have different views upon them and discriminate against them, which may cause them to have adverse outcomes like stigmatization and inequity, which affect them negatively. From the lessons we had learned, I had knowledge of cultural humility, safety, and competence, which enabled me to provide optimal care and respect the patient.

The flexibility that I possess helped me avoid cultural conflicts with the patient since I have different beliefs. Some of my workmates declined to attend to the patient after realizing she is a member of the LGBT society. These being the physical environment, they negatively impacted the patient as he felt stigmatized. The healthcare workers had a different perspective from the patient, which would lead to cultural conflicts. I had to maintain cultural safety to comfort the patient to feel safe and receive health care (Foronda, 2020). I noticed the need to incorporate training on LGBT in the curriculum of pre-health. Expanding the student’s diversity in nursing would also help minimize the cultural conflicts among the healthcare workers and patients from different cultures. Thus, cultural humility, competence and safety played a key role as I offered my services and comforted the patient.

Cultural competency has contributed differently to the healthcare system. It has contributed to overcoming health disparities like cultural practices and beliefs, conscious and unconscious biases in medical, low literacy in health, and language barriers (Greene-Motion & Hinkler, 2020). Cultural competency among healthcare workers has led to improvements in the healthcare system by improving some of the system’s activities. Issues concerning cultural beliefs and practices have led to improving the system due to healthcare workers’ changes. Additionally, minimized literacy in health has contributed to the difference in the healthcare system. This leads to improved quality of health care offered. Cultural competency has contributed to the understanding of different cultural practices and beliefs, thus making healthcare workers flexible in their way of thinking to minimize cultural conflicts (Foronda, 2020). Since they have different perspectives from their patients, they can handle to respect individual values and beliefs which enhance improvements in the healthcare system and avoid cultural conflicts.

Additionally, cultural humility gives healthcare workers a greater understanding of different cultures different from their own. They can recognize the unique practices and cultural experiences of the patient. Healthcare workers are involved in the community they serve, thus maintaining the ongoing physician-patient relationship (Foronda et al., 2016). As a result of asking many questions, they can learn from the patients and their families to acknowledge their cultures. As a result of these efforts, they can promote affordable, accessible and care of high quality. When the physicians are culturally competent, they can respect and be responsible for patients’ needs, values, and preferences, which leads to improvements in the healthcare system.

Notably, in the nursing profession, cultural competence has been evident where the nurses communicate through layman’s terms with patients’ families and the patients. They do not display in the native language. Since the medical terminologies are complicated for a person to understand, the nurses are competent in using simple terms while dealing with the patient. Cultural competence promotes a generalized understanding of other cultures, grounded on cultural stereotypes (Greene Moton, 2020)

Understanding cultural competency helps the nurses to avoid making erroneous assumptions about a patient, which leads to improvements in the provision of good quality care. Health professionals draw cultural safety from cultural competence, enabling them to provide adequate care to the patients, their families, and the entire surrounding, which takes the dimensions of political and social care.

Consequently, for nurses to provide quality patient care, cultural humility is important. This is because it helps the nurses identify potential differences in the meaning of wellness and health within their patients and understand the challenges in accessing health care of good quality. Since nurses work in a dynamic environment where they engage and interact with staff and patients of different cultures, they have a dialogical approach that involves evaluating surroundings and self and constantly asking critical questions. There occurs an intrapersonal and interpersonal humility within the nurses. Interpersonal humility appears when individuals critically understand and question patients, colleagues, and families’ cultures and values. In contrast, intrapersonal humility happens when the nurse faculty and nurses have engaged actively in critiquing and examining their motives and beliefs (Curtis et al., 2019). The promotion of cultural humility is key to providing health care by the nurses as it improves their services to the patients.

There have been improvements in health outcomes within the organizations which are culturally competent. They have also led to increased mutual understanding and respect from the patients and increased local community participation. These organizations have reduced the care disparities among the patient population, improved patient data collection, enhanced preventive care, and minimized medical errors, medical visits, and treatments. With this competency, there has been increased trust among the patients. This has also led to increased mutual respect and understanding of the patients, and in return, they are offered quality care. Patients build their trust in the nurses due to the cultural competency they have. When there is cultural competency within the organizations, there will be reduced cultural conflicts within the community. Thus, the patients will feel safe and satisfied with the service they are offered. (First Nation Health Authority, 2019).

Besides, cultural safety provides a basis for nurses to engage with the patients to affirm control and power over their well-being and health. Cultural safety has reduced medical errors; thus, there have been more effective ways of dealing with patients with complex conditions, which in return give good results to the patient (Hughes et al., 2020). Cultural safety has also led to a reduction in mortality rate among the patients since they understand their cultures and are willing to provide their care to every person within the community irrespective of their culture. Also, there has been a reduction in complications, thus improving safety attitudes among the health care workers. Still, it has cultural safety has reduced the readmission rates within healthcare organizations. There have been improvements in health care since patients are provided with quality care, thus improving their well-being, which minimizes the readmission rates.

Cultural competency is fundamental in the provision of health care. With this competency, there is a need for improvements in cultural competency, humility, and safety which will positively impact care provision to the patients. According to Henderson et al. (2018), cultural competence has grounded my understanding of other peoples’ cultures, leading to improvements in health care. In the future, I will understand and improve on the health care services since I will have a diverse understanding of the culture. There will be direct engagement in cross-cultural interactions with the patients, leading to more trust in my services (Curtis et al., 2019). Cultural humility and competency will make the patients build confidence in me, which will lead to more improvements. There will be improved communication with the patients, which will enlighten my understanding of different people’s values and cultures and be able to respect them and offer my services to them. I will also improve my competency through social media and online networking (Hughes et al., 2020). This will create cultural awareness and be up-to-date with different cultures. Due to the ability to explore the patient’s values, needs, and beliefs, I will be able to build an effective relationship with them, which will result in the provision of quality work.

In conclusion, cultural competency, humility, and safety are essential factors in providing health care. This is because health professionals deal with people from diverse cultures, and they have to possess the three concepts to avoid cultural conflicts. Health professionals must be mixed and understand every culture and learn to respect their patients’ beliefs, values, needs, and cultures. With this, they will be able to build the patients’ trust, which will minimize cultural conflicts. They should always be open-minded since there are different patients from different cultures, and they should not discriminate against them irrespective of their culture. Health professionals have a responsibility to broaden their minds and understand more cultures that are up to date, which will contribute to offering quality care. With improved health care, there will be minimal cultural conflicts, better healthcare services, and trust between the patient and the nurses. Thus, health professionals should observe cultural humility, safety, and competency as they offer their services to patients to minimize cultural conflicts.


Canadian Nurses Association. (2018). Position statement: Cultural competence in nursing care. Web.

Curtis, E., Jones, R., Tepee-Leach, D., Walker, C., Loring, B., Paine, S.-J., & Reid, P. (2019). Cultural safety rather than cultural competency is required to achieve health equity: A literature review and recommended definition. International Journal for Equity in Health, 18(1).

First Nations Health Authority. (2019). Cultural safety and humility.

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Foronda, C., Baptiste, D-L., Reinholdt, M. M., & Ousman, K. (2016). Cultural humility: A concept analysis. Journal of Trans-Cultural Nursing, 2(3), 210–217. Web.

Greene-Moton, E., & Minkler, M. (2020). Cultural competence or cultural humility? Moving beyond the debate. Health Promotion Practice, 21(1), 142–145. Web.

Hughes, V., Delva, S., Nkimbeng, M., Spaulding, E., Turkson-Ocran, R. A., Cudjoe, J., Ford, A., Rushton, C., D’Aoust, R., & Han, H. R. (2020). Not missing the opportunity: Strategies to promote cultural humility among future nursing faculty. Journal of Professional Nursing, 36, 28–33.

Henderson, S., Horne, M., Hills, R., & Kendall, E. (2018). Cultural competence in healthcare in the community: A concept analysis. Health & Social Care in the Community, 26(4), 590-603.

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