Cultural competency, what exactly is it? Does it have importance in society today and who has the capability to influence change if needed? Researching cultural competence you may find several definitions or interpretations’ depending on where the information is being gathered. Cultural competence refers to a combination of awareness, attitudes, skills and behaviors related to health care providers’ ability to care for diverse groups of patient (U.S. News, 2013). Being a health care provider you’re very likely to encounter people of other cultures, beliefs, or religions other than your own. Based upon the current population trends in the United States, ‘The nation’s minority population is steadily rising and now makes up 35 percent of the United States’ (Yen,2010).
Several barriers may influence cultural competency greatly; most commonly it will be ourselves and our lack of understanding or willingness to understand other cultures, their behaviors and beliefs when it comes to health care. Far to often we expect individuals/patients’ to succumb to our beliefs especially if false perception s are made about them culturally, they will make a poor decision based on their culture or ethnicity. Many health care providers have resources at their disposal to overcome obstacles which may be encountered those include, translators, training modules on cultural competency.
With our ever changing world teaching institutions are changing accordingly by adding courses to the curriculums. These are being added for student many other service providers focused on cultural competency, which, brings up a question is this a trait that can be learned? ‘One major problem with the idea of cultural competency is that it suggests culture can be reduced to a technical skill for which clinicians can be trained to develop expertise’(DelVecchio, 1995). Even as questions are being proposed about cultural competency by a few, many if not the majority have bypassed that notion and have put learning forums in place for employees’. Should this be mandated into schools, the world is going to keep evolving with more minorities entering schools, this will influence teaching style, thus making a difference on what type of providers will be graduated.
Being cultural competent or the very least aware that differences do exists will make for better rounded health care providers. As health care providers have no control who, is going to walk into their lives on that given shift this is why cultural competency is so important. Being competent has the ability to; improve the quality of care by providing an environment of, health care that is respectful and attentive to the needs of diverse patients (U.S.Department,2013). Why, run the risk of having a patient feel as though they didn’t receive excellent service based on their ethnicity, when the goal is always to provide the very best to our ability. Becoming culturally aware like it or not is becoming a requirement not a option.
As a socially aware health care provider it may be difficult to assess just how much of an impact has been made upon a patient and their family. The gratitude may never be verbalized or expressed with an gesture, the fact they stayed and received treatment under your care and knowing that you were attentive to their needs and provided care free of judgment is reward enough.
U.S. News (2013, January 17) Docs’ ‘Cultural Competence’ May Boost HIV Care. Retrieved January 19, 2013, from http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/01/17/docs-cultural-competence-may-boost-hiv-care Yen, H.(2010, June 10) U.S. Minority Population Could Be Majority By Mid-Century Census Shows.The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 19, 2013 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/10/us-minority-population-co_n_607369.html DelVecchio Good M. Berkeley (California): University of California Press; 1995. American medicine: The quest for competence; p. 265. Retrieved January 19, 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1621088/#pmed-0030294-b004 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2013, January 20) National Institute of Health.Cultural CompetencyRetrieved January 20, 2013 from