Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Competence in Nurses


Social justice in the nursing practice is very critical to ensuring quality and equitable care. In recent years, the topic of ethnic diversity and cultural competence has attracted much attention in the nursing field. Healthcare studies have constantly found problems with cultural competency and racial disparities in the delivery of care (Kaihlanen et al., 2019). These have been highlighted as critical social determinants of health (SDH) for the US. Rivenbark and Ichou (2020) suggest that ethnic and racial minorities in America have unfavorable SDH, which affects their access to and reception of healthcare services. Especially, the high underrepresentation of gender, cultural, and ethnic diversity in nursing training and leadership has been critical to increasing the social injustices embedded in the nursing practice. Social justice determines the quality of care in diverse populations; it highlights the relationship between social diversity and patient- and family-centered care (PFCC) and barriers to care.

Social Justice and the Nursing Practice

Social justice is fundamental to the nursing practice in various ways. According to Abu (2020), it includes the idea that all people deserve equal opportunities and rights, including the right to good health. In other words, when dealing with patients, the nursing professionals employ this concept to ensure that everyone, regardless of their differences, gets a chance to attain quality healthcare. Taking the ethnic diversity in context, social justice calls for healthcare models in which cultural competence is applied to offer better and non-discriminatory care for all. Since nurses are at the forefront of patient care, they offer informed insights regarding the community health disparities to aid equal care opportunities.

Besides, social justice is mentioned as a core value in nursing and a base for public health nursing. Notably, the social justice dogma enables nursing professionals and students to keep up with the legal, moral, and humanistic principles in the health field (Abu, 2020). In this, they exercise socially just acts that help strike a balance between health-related outcomes or benefits and the burdens for all community or society members. Therefore, to ensure a reduction in ethnic diversity and cultural competence challenges in the nursing practice, social justice is very important.

Relationship between Social Diversity and PFCC

Social diversity entails the differences within the society, including ethnic dissimilarities. Meanwhile, PFCC is the form of care that encourages respect for patient beliefs and values when taking on individual care decisions. PFCC emphasizes the role of family and patient in advising and collaborating with nurses to improve nursing care practices (Cruz & Pedreira, 2020). Since social diversity implies that people have different beliefs and values regarding their health and treatment, PFCC acts as the catalyst for ensuring that the process of care planning reflects the differences in patient preferences. In the PFCC approach, the nurses allow families and patients to participate in deciding or changing the care process (Cruz & Pedreira, 2020). In this, nurses include ethically sensitive methods in their nursing practice.

For instance, during one of my encounters with an Asian woman patient, I realized that her culture does not allow her to uncover some parts of her body to the public. Yet, I had to make some examinations and this restrained my efforts to proceed. I decided to inquire from her and her husband which options could be acceptable for me to check or find out the details I needed for the care to proceed. They gave me an option that seemed impossible. They required that I find an Asian female nurse to take on the procedure yet there was none in the general clinic. I discussed the issue with my colleagues and we met the family, gave them instructions, and they helped with doing the body checks. However, they could not perfect the results and they requested that a female nurse run the tests. From the experience above, it is clear that social diversity influences patient care. Nurses must understand how to deal with the social differences in their patients. With the help of PFCC, the challenges accruing from social diversity can be addressed in the most ethically acceptable manner.

Barriers to Providing Social Justice Care to a Diverse Population

A major barrier to giving social justice care to diverse populations lies in discrimination. Giddens (2021) found that people belonging to socially disadvantaged populations encounter numerous health challenges. Profoundly, discrimination in terms of group status including gender, race/ethnicity, and immigration have been cited as posing serious health challenges. The experiences of discrimination have greatly become a major determinant of how diverse populations relate to healthcare. For instance, Rivenbark and Ichou (2020) indicate that minority groups in the US experience low access to preventive care as well as treatment. Especially for chronic ailments, which have led to high emergency room visits, increased cardiovascular illnesses, cancer, mental diseases, and diabetes likelihood.

Moreover, there is a problem of limited professional values among nurses. Giger and Haddad (2021) postulate that nursing professionals have issues with acquiring the basic professional values for this profession and this hinders the type of service they offer to patients from diverse origins. Especially, many nurses leave school without obtaining the social justice value to the fullest. As such, these end up behaving in ways that do not promote social justice care. The disparities in health care follow that these groups are highly discriminated against by the health service providers. Therefore, much as every person deserves the best and prompt medical care whenever needed, discrimination and lack of professional values have been a great blockage for social justice care for diverse populations.

Recommendations for Providing Health Promotion Activities for Ethnic Minorities

Ethnic minorities have been seen to be facing a myriad of health challenges. Cultural competence contributes to improving minority ethnic health but little is known about what culturally competent health promotion entails. Therefore, some recommendations for offering culturally competent health promotion activities for the minority populace are given. First, health promotion activities for minorities can be provided through community resources that increase intervention accessibility. Giger and Haddad (2021) suggest that using community publicity resources to make available services and interventions known increases their accessibility. Specifically, utilizing ethnic-specific networks and media, community events, and local leaders are effective. Therefore, if the nursing professionals use community resources to increase the accessibility of interventions, ethnic minorities will feel accepted and engaged.

The other recommendation is that professionals should work to identify and respond to the barriers to involvement and access to healthcare among these populations. Giddens (2021) supports the use of community visits to patients within minority group locales to care for chronically ill individuals. Through this tactic, the disadvantaged groups gain more access to health care and overcome discriminatory barriers related to racially designed care delivery.


Social justice is critical to the nursing practice and must thus be encouraged during both training, and practice with patients. The issue of ethnic diversity remains serious in influencing social justice care. However, encouraging cultural competence is the solution to the tendencies of missed social justice in nursing. Therefore, using community services and paying community visits could act as health-promoting activities to end the known ethnic health disparities among minority populations.


Abu, V. K. (2020). Let us be unequivocal about social justice in nursing. Nurse Education in Practice, 47, 102849. Web.

Cruz, A. C., & Pedreira, M. D. (2020). Patient-and family-centered care and patient safety: Reflections upon emerging proximity. Revista Brasileira de Enfermagem, 73(6). Web.

Giddens, J. F. (2021). Health disparities. Concepts for nursing practice (3rd ed.). Elsevier

Giger, J. N. & Haddad (2021). Social organization. Transcultural nursing (8th ed.). Mosby.

Kaihlanen, A., Hietapakka, L., & Heponiemi, T. (2019). Increasing cultural awareness: Qualitative study of nurses’ perceptions about cultural competence training. BMC Nursing, 18(1). Web.

Rivenbark, J. G., & Ichou, M. (2020). Discrimination in healthcare as a barrier to care: Experiences of socially disadvantaged populations in France from a nationally representative survey. BMC Public Health, 20, 31. Web.

Find out your order's cost