In nursing school, we are taught to respect the rights and dignity of all clients

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In nursing school, we are taught to respect the rights and dignity of all clients. We see a variety of people everyday as society becomes more mobile, and we will continue to interact with individuals from other cultures as we progress in our nursing careers.

My first asset is an article about the cultural competence within our nursing education and how they should properly go about teaching it through school. They talk about the various methods they use to teach cultural competence by a range of standard courses, both required and elective, to seminars and projects conducted within a class with goals for students to become more culturally competent. However, even with school stating the importance of cultural competence within education, there is no evidence that they measure to see if what they are doing is helping students better understand cultural competence. University’s and other schools must constantly assess their programs to make sure the goals are being achieved. As the article stated,” cultural competence is so important to the effective work of a nurse, then schools of nursing must assess whatever means they use to impart this skill to make sure their graduates have attained cultural competence.”

“Non-European Americans make up approximately one-third of the United States (US) population. These groups sustained their identity, values, and belief systems and now want to be recognized in a bicultural, pluralistic, and multi-cultural manner . Their numbers are growing and by 2080, non-whites will be the majority in the US “ With the increasing number of non-whites, the nursing education system needs to make sure that they are effectively teaching nurses the importance of cultural competence and skills they will need to ensure they are giving the best care to which ever patient we may have to deal with even if their beliefs are different than their own. The beliefs that others have about medical care in this country may be difficult for us to understand. As nurses, we must remember that we don’t need to understand these beliefs completely, but we do need to respect them.

Grant, LaVerne F, Letzring, Timothy D (2003). Status of cultural competence in nursing education: A literature review. Journal of Multicultural Nursing & Health.

My second asset is a web site on transcultural nursing, For a nurse to be culturally competent they need to understand their own views and then those of the patient, while avoiding stereotypes and misinterpretation. Cultural competence is obtaining cultural information, then applying this knowledge to the care of their patient. By being more cultural aware as a nurse, you are able to see more of the whole picture which can lead to improving the quality of care you provide to your patient, which then can lead to better health outcomes.

Cultural competence means that we really need to listen to our patient in order to find out and learn about their beliefs and health understanding. To provide culturally appropriate care we need to know and  understand culturally influenced health behaviors.

As nurses we need to remember to learn and ask questions in a respectful way about people different cultural beliefs. We must remember to listen to our patients even if we are really busy. The main problem with caring for people with different cultural backgrounds in the lack of understanding and acceptance. So remember to listen and respect your patient no matter which culture they are from!

These assets really opened my eyes, because I don’t think as subtends we think about the importance of cultural competence every day. As the “world becomes smaller” and individuals and societies become more mobile, we are increasingly able to interact with individuals from other cultures. Cultural competence and respect for others becomes especially important for us as nurses and patient advocates to fully understand our patients. Cultural sensitivity and cultural competence are an important part of the nursing care, and by increasing our knowledge on cultural diversity can improve the possibility for us to provide culturally competent care which can improve the care for everyone. In our first few classes of nursing in first year we talked about respect for others no matter the culture. Even though it may have been awhile from when we were taught this, we still need to remember how important this is when developing an effective nurse/client relationship because no matter what area of nursing we all decide to go into, we will always have to show respect for our patient.

In this article I found a good quote from Dr. Campinha-Bacote, "There is a difference between cultural diversity and how it relates to the interpersonal interactions we experience in delivering healthcare services, cultural competence is a journey, not a destination ... we must not only recognize differences, but build upon similarities."

Barriers to cultural sensitivity can include stereotyping, discrimination, racism, and prejudice.  There are situations in which we may portray a lack of sensitivity without realizing it or intending to offend someone else. As nurses, we can take simple steps, like: addressing the client with their full name, asking them what they would like to be called, ask about cultural practices, and overall respect the client and their wishes.

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