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Cultural competence in healthcare

In health care

Diversity in Health Care

July, 2011


    The United States is a country consisting of many cultures, races, and religions.   It is becoming increasingly diverse and global, with many minority cultures and races developing into majority cultures and races. Newer religions take their place alongside traditional faiths.   Both cultural and spiritual differences in people are potential causes for misunderstanding, confusion, and conflict arising from intolerance and ignorance of these differences.   It therefore becomes apparent why it is imperative for professionals of all types to have an awareness, knowledge, and appreciation for others whose beliefs, practices, and values are different.   This essay discusses how this awareness relates to the concept of cultural competency and the implications it has on the professional and healthcare industry.

 What is cultural competence?   To be culturally competent the healthcare provider needs to understand his/her own worldviews and those of the patient, while avoiding stereotyping and misapplication of scientific knowledge.   Cultural competence is obtaining cultural information and then applying that knowledge.   This cultural awareness allows you to see the entire picture and improves the quality of care and health outcomes.   Adapting to di