Understanding one’s cultural values and the importance of perceiving the culture of others is one of the key skills of nurses as it provides quality patient care. At the core of the values and goals of St. Thomas University, the nursing program and its courses also lies in understanding, accepting and teaching students cultural diversity to promote equal and ethical relationships in society. The Nursing Practice in a Multicultural Society course contributes to the cultural education of students, and I believe that my cultural competence increased significantly in the process of studying it.
St. Thomas University has Catholic values of virtue, justice, mercy, and love. These principles, in combination with practices, encourage multiculturalism and the interaction of people with themselves, society, and nature (“Catholic identity,” n.d.). Consequently, all university programs, including Nursing programs, have components that develop the students’ worldview along with professional skills. In addition, the advantage of the nursing program for me is the ability to gain practical knowledge and experience both in special medical skills and cultural competence, which is a critical component of the successful nursing care.
In general, I can notice an increase in my cultural competence by studying the Nursing Practice in a Multicultural Society course by my confidence in this area and communication with patients. However, the course also taught me how to test my skills with a scientific approach. Hence, I can pinpoint the areas in which I have excelled by using Campinha-Bacote’s model of the process of cultural competence. The most important construct of the model is cultural desire, since, in my opinion, it is fundamental to working on the rest of the process. Studying various cultural backgrounds is interesting for me, and I believe that a nurse can not only offer the best care but also expand her or his knowledge by listening to the patient. For this reason, I can surely say that my cultural desire is high enough to gain patient confidence (Ritter & Graham, 2017). However, studying cultural and medical characteristics has given me other skills.
I note that my cultural competence has grown in all respects, but so far, I do not have enough experience in this area. Essential constructs of the Campinha-Bacote’s model are cultural knowledge and cultural skill, since they allow a nurse to assess the patient’s condition and offer treatment according to his or her ethnic characteristics, which can affect physiology (Ritter & Graham, 2017). Studying various ethnic groups during the course included not only an understanding of their beliefs but also a body’s features, habits, and lifestyle, which supplemented my knowledge for the described constructs. The same knowledge also deepened my cultural awareness, which is characterized by an understanding of one’s own prejudice and bias, although I knew about my shortcomings before the course (Albougami et al., 2016). However, I still have to develop the component of cultural encounter, since I did not have enough experience to learn how to avoid manifestations of discrimination and stereotypes in working with patients (Albougami et al., 2016). Therefore, although the course has improved my cultural competence, I need the practice to reach a professional level.
Therefore, I believe that the course of St. Thomas University is complete and useful for nursing students as it provides theoretical information, which is necessary for understanding the cultural characteristics of the patient. However, only practice and constant communication in representatives of different cultures will help to develop nursing skills and quality of care for different patients. Besides, each person is unique, and the features of certain ethics or religions cannot reflect the characteristics of each of their representatives; thus, the theory can differ significantly from practice.
Albougami, A. S., Pounds, K.G., & Alotaibi, J.S. (2016). Comparison of four cultural competence models in transcultural nursing: A discussion paper. International Archives of Nursing and Health Care, 2(4), 1-5.
Catholic identity. (n.d.). St. Thomas University (STU). Web.
Ritter, L.A., & Graham, D.H. (2017). Multicultural Health (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning. ISBN: 9781284021028