Cultural Competence Essay

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Position Statement Cultural Cultural Competency Defining Cultural Competence Health care providers may experience challenges stemming from cultural differences when treating patients of various ethnicities, and these challenges may lead to suboptimal patient care. Current data shows that despite substantial advances in the overall health of Americans, health disparities persist among US racial and ethnic groups. A recent editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that miscommunications due to language barriers with Spanish, the most common non-English language spoken in the US, lead to substandard health care. For many individuals with limited English proficiency, inability to communicate in English is the primary barrier to accessing health information and services. Elimination of health disparities must be placed at the forefront of the country’s health priorities. Numerous governmental and accrediting bodies, such as The Joint Commission and URAC, recognize that cultural competence is essential for improving patients’ health status, providing access to appropriate health care, and for eliminating disparities in health care delivery regardless of a patient’s cultural/ethnic background. In order to provide appropriate health care and ensure that national health care goals for eliminating ethnic/racial disparities in health care are met, providers must be able to provide culturally effective and appropriate health care. The purpose of this Pocket Guide is to increase the awareness of health professionals regarding cultural disparities and to better enable providers to formulate their own plans to overcome cultural and linguistic barriers and provide culturally effective and appropriate, patient-centered health care. “[Cultural competence is] the ability of systems to provide care to patients with diverse values, beliefs, and behaviors,

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