Nursing: Culturally Competent Care

The culturally appropriate nursing care is important in order to address the needs of diverse patients, provide them with much attention, and demonstrate the understanding of their expectations. The aspect of culture can influence the quality and delivery of the nursing care significantly because people belonging to various cultures are different in their perceptions and visions of the health and care (Lee, Kim, & Lee, 2012). Thus, the nursing care should be adjusted to the needs of culturally diverse patients, and it is important to examine what particular areas related to the culture can affect the nursing care, what changes can be made to meet the patients’ interests, and how the learning regarding the cultural competence can influence the quality of the care with references to nurses’ individual experiences.

Areas That Can Influence Nursing Care

While discussing the culture and its impact on the nursing care, it is possible to identify five areas that can have the most significant effect. The first area to discuss is the communication with culturally diverse patients. Language barriers are observed if a patient and a nurse belong to different cultures, and the patient does not know the English language. The lack of understanding can lead to inappropriate diagnoses and the ineffective treatment (Sumpter & Carthon, 2011). In addition, much attention is paid to the verbal and non-verbal communication, the principles of which are different in many cultures (Dudas, 2012). For instance, the female representative of the Arab culture can avoid communicating with male professionals. As a result, she often does not report all complaints to the male nurse or leaves the facility without receiving any help. In this context, it is possible to discuss the second area such as the communication with the family members (Kim & Kim, 2013). In many cultures, the opinion of the family members and their statuses can be perceived differently, and the nurse should pay attention to this fact while asking the patient to make decisions regarding the treatment.

The next two areas are the patients’ specific habits, traditions, and customs associated with the culture and the religious beliefs that can influence the person’s lifestyle. While proposing the treatment alternatives and developing the care plan, the nurse is expected to take the cultural and religious background of the patient into account. One more concept that should be discussed is the patient’s attitude to the principles of the Western medicine based on his or her culture. Different cultures perceive diseases and treatments depending on their traditional visions (Jeffreys & Dogan, 2012). For instance, Hispanics distinguish between hot and cold diseases and treatment alternatives, and they can be rather skeptical regarding the proposed treatment plan.

However, certain adjustments of principles of the nursing care to make it culturally competent should be made. In order to overcome communication barriers, the nurse needs to pay attention to the patient’s language and communication patterns and ask interpreters, family members, and representatives of the same culture for help. The next step is the demonstration of the respect for cultural differences and personal attitudes and visions (Douglas, Pierce, Rosenkoetter, Pacquiao, & Callister, 2011). The nurse should learn about the patients’ visions of illnesses and their treatment, approaches to diagnosing and aspects of communication, such as the consultations with male doctors (Jeffreys & Dogan, 2012). The nurse should also learn about the patients’ traditions and lifestyle to understand the daily activities and habits in order to develop the comprehensive care plan. The next step is the choice of the appropriate treatment that can be perceived by the patient as the most effective one according to his or her visions.

Changes Regarding the Cultural Competence

The results of the previous cultural competence quiz demonstrate that such areas as communication, as well as the understanding of the lifestyle and child-rearing practices, require the further improvement. After working on enhancing skills in providing the culturally competent care, it is possible to state that the results regarding the cross-cultural communication have changed. The learning was important to promote the understanding that it is impossible to make assumptions regarding patients’ beliefs and visions, and the effective approach to resolving the issue is the practice of asking polite questions and contacting family members in order to learn about values and traditions (Kim & Kim, 2013). Improvements are also observed in terms of demonstrating the respect for the patient’s culture, support group, visions regarding the health and medicine, and relations in the family and community. Positive changes are also observed in terms of understanding gender roles in different cultures, as well as impacts of cultures on lifestyles. These results allow speaking about changes in the quality of the nursing care provided for culturally diverse patients.

Positive Effects of Learning on the Nursing Care

While discussing positive changes in the nurse’s cultural competence in detail, it is important to state that the learning about diverse cultures, traditions, religions, and beliefs has affected the understanding of the culturally appropriate nursing care significantly. The focus on cultural differences and the development of the cultural competence allow the constant examination of individual patients’ needs and interests in order to provide them with the appropriate care. This approach also allows analyzing the appropriateness of the proposed interventions and developing the communication in the most respectful manner (Dudas, 2012). As a result, the learning of the cultural contexts and patients’ beliefs and visions allows nurses to become more attentive, respectful, and responsive while communicating with patients.

The learning and development of the cultural competence are also important in order to improve the daily provision of the nursing care. For instance, the knowledge regarding patients’ cultures contributes to listening to persons’ complaints and visions, as well as explaining their expectations regarding the care delivery (Sumpter & Carthon, 2011). As a result, it is possible to acknowledge the patients’ needs and discuss the particular case with professionals from the patient’s culture in order to demonstrate the competence and provide the most effective care in a respectful manner. The learning regarding cultures is also important to avoid cross-cultural conflicts, develop the positive communication, and demonstrate the respect and loyalty.


The constant development of the cultural competence is important for a nurse in order to adjust the care to the needs of culturally diverse patients. The on-going learning and development of skills are necessary, and much attention should be paid to addressing the areas related to the culture that can affect the quality of the provided nursing care. The regular analysis of the cultural competence allows monitoring changes in the approaches and meeting the patients’ interests. Therefore, it is possible to state that the learning allows improving the cultural competence and the quality of the provided care when individuals’ needs are met.


Douglas, M., Pierce, J., Rosenkoetter, M., Pacquiao, D., & Callister, L. (2011). Standards of practice for culturally competent nursing care: 2011 update. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 22(4), 317-322.

Dudas, K. I. (2012). Cultural competence: An evolutionary concept analysis. Nursing Education Perspectives, 33(5), 317-321.

Jeffreys, M. R., & Dogan, E. (2012). Evaluating the influence of cultural competence education on students’ transcultural self-efficacy perceptions. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 23(2), 188-197.

Kim, D. H., & Kim, S. E. (2013). Cultural competence and factors influencing cultural competence in nursing students. Journal of Korean Academy of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 22(3), 159-168.

Lee, E. J., Kim, Y. K., & Lee, H. (2012). A study on the cultural competence of community health practitioners. Journal of Korean Academy of Community Health Nursing, 23(2), 179-188.

Sumpter, D. F., & Carthon, J. M. B. (2011). Lost in translation: Student perceptions of cultural competence in undergraduate and graduate nursing curricula. Journal of Professional Nursing, 27(1), 43-49.

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