Discuss about the Cultural Competence in Healthcare Practice for Nationality.
The behaviors, values, and beliefs of an individual are shaped and determined by such factors as race, language, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, and occupation just to mention a few. These factors constitute the cultural understanding and makeup of an individual. Cultural competence in the healthcare context is generally defined as the ability of organizations and healthcare providers to comprehend and integrate in their practice these factors in the structure and delivery of healthcare system.
Culturally competent healthcare aims at enhancing the quality of medical services offered to patients by ensuring the highest quality attainable is offered regardless of the culture of the patient. Cultural competence ensures the patient receives the best healthcare service he deserves irrespective of his race, literacy, proficiency in English or cultural background. Healthcare institutions and organizations acknowledge the essence and vital need of culturally competent healthcare and as such, they have resorted to a number of strategies that would hence such efficiency (Robinson 2012, p. 205). Among the strategies include:
- Provision of interpreter services
- Coordination between the healthcare organization and traditional healers
- Recruitment and retaining of minority staff to attend to the minority cases
- Incorporation of community health workers in the delivery of healthcare services
- Provision of training to the healthcare providers so as to increase their level of cultural awareness, skills, and knowledge hence improving the quality of services
- Inclusion of the members of the family and community in decision-making process pertaining the health of their patient
Strength of Cultural Competency
The role played by cultural competence in healthcare context makes it an issue that cannot be ignored by any healthcare organization. Cultural competence mainly aims at achieving respect to the patient (Tseng 2015, p. 197). With the disparities in races, ethnicity, cultures, and nationalities, each patient feels his/her beliefs, language, traditions, values, and customs should be sufficiently respected while they are receiving healthcare services. patients should they need the freedom to honestly communicate the concerns of their culture which can in turn help in reducing the disparities in the healthcare provided beside improving patient outcomes.
A success in the delivery of culturally competent healthcare culminates into numerous benefits both to the healthcare organization, the healthcare professionals and to the patients. Among these benefits include social benefits such as increased mutual respect between the healthcare providers and the patients (Malone 2012, p. 458). Other social benefits include increased trust from the patient on the healthcare provider, empowerment of the patient regarding their own healthcare and enhancement of the responsibility of the patient.
With cultural competence, patients feel they are heard and understood by the healthcare providers. This enhances active participation of the patients in preventive healthcare initiatives as well as reducing the chances of missing healthcare appointments. Such benefits act to improve the health outcomes of the patients, lower medical errors as well as reducing legal costs that are related to healthcare facilities (Tseng 2015, p. 650). All these benefits can be summarized as cultural competence in an organization reducing the level of disparities among the populations of patients which is still a very common global problem.
Limitations of Cultural Competency
Cultural competence limitations are broadly classified into three categories: narrow cultural concept mostly conflating culture with ethnicity and race, insufficient clarification on the application of the concept of culture in medicine and a lot of attention given to cultural complexity. There is limited recognition given to the culture of medicine accompanied by the limited outcomes from research that is aimed at providing evidence that cultural competence strategies are effective. As regarding the narrowness in the concept of culture, in most cases, culture is treated as race and ethnicity (Purnell 2014, p. 209).
This falls short of capturing the diversity among groups hence reducing the effectiveness of the strategies of cultural competence. This as well hinders the investigation for evidence that connects competence to reduced levels of disparities in health. The lack of diversity in the leadership and healthcare workforce is yet another limitation to cultural competence as it contributes to ethnic and racial disparities in the provision of healthcare (Purnell 2014, p. 894). Some healthcare systems are poorly designed hence do not meet the healthcare need of all the patient populations.
How culturally competent health care can be appropriately delivered to engage and empower Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Reforming the health systems and service: The reformation should be done in a way that it facilitates the delivery of culturally competent healthcare. This is achievable through the adoption of the continuous quality improvement model that improves the sensitivity of a culture as well as the environmental culture in the hospitals of Australia. These tools aim at helping the hospital to collaborate with the local indigenous communities of Australia in achieving cultural reforms (Tseng 2015, p. 569). It is important to note that the reforms require the consent of senior management of the hospitals to be realized. It is the task of the senior management to support the reforms and changes that would enhance capacity building as far as aboriginal-facilitated care is concerned.
Development of healthcare interventions which are tailored to culture: These healthcare interventions would improve access to healthcare among the Aboriginal population. The healthcare interventions should have unique characteristics and profiles as determined by the individual communities. They should incorporate the base of knowledge and cultural traditions of the local people.
Improvement of the cultural competence of the healthcare staff: This could be achieved through training and workshops organized for the non-indigenous members of staff. The training is not aimed at changing the beliefs and attitudes but rather incorporating cultural awareness, skills, and knowledge about the Aboriginal community. An improvement of the healthcare competence of the healthcare workforce would strengthen the confidence, skills, and knowledge of the both the patients and the healthcare practitioner (Robinson 2012, p. 230).
Increase of healthcare access for the Aboriginal populations: Healthcare access can be improved through the improvement of communication between the patients and healthcare providers. Language immersion programs are a vital aspect of the success of this strategy (Malone 2012, p. 188). The access for healthcare can as well be improved by increasing the number of healthcare professionals whose training is tailored towards offering services to the Aboriginal population. This would enhance access to urgent healthcare services as well as the efficiency of cultural perceptiveness in healthcare.
Malone, B 2012, Diversity and Cultural Competence in Health Care: A Systems Approach, 5th edn, John Wiley & Sons, New York.
Purnell, LD 2014, Guide to Culturally Competent Health Care, 4th edn, F.A. Davis, London.
Robinson, M 2012, Cultural Competence in Health Care: A Practical Guide, 2nd edn, Wiley, New York.
Tseng, W-S 2015, Cultural Competence in Health Care, 4th edn, Springer Science & Business Media, Beijing.