Cultural Competence In Healthcare

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CULTURAL COMPETENCE IN HEALTH CARE Diversity in Health Care July, 2011 The United States is a country consisting of many cultures, races, and religions. It is becoming increasingly diverse and global, with many minority cultures and races developing into majority cultures and races. Newer religions take their place alongside traditional faiths. Both cultural and spiritual differences in people are potential causes for misunderstanding, confusion, and conflict arising from intolerance and ignorance of these differences. It therefore becomes apparent why it is imperative for professionals of all types to have an awareness, knowledge, and appreciation for others whose beliefs, practices, and values are different. This essay discusses how this awareness relates to the concept of cultural competency and the implications it has on the professional and healthcare industry. What is cultural competence? To be culturally competent the healthcare provider needs to understand his/her own worldviews and those of the patient, while avoiding stereotyping and misapplication of scientific knowledge. Cultural competence is obtaining cultural information and then applying that knowledge. This cultural awareness allows you to see the entire picture and improves the quality of care and health outcomes. Adapting to different cultural beliefs and practices requires flexibility and a respect for others view points. Cultural competence means to really listen to the patient, to find out and learn about the patient’s beliefs of health and illness (Salisbury, 2006). To provide culturally appropriate care we need to know and to understand culturally influenced health behaviors. Since the perception of illness and disease and their causes varies by culture, these individual preferences affect our approaches to healthcare. Culture also influences how people
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