Health Disparities and Cultural Competence

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Health Disparities and Cultural Competence
Margarone Momplaisir University of Texas at Pan American

Professional Issues in Nursing Practice NURS 6209 Dr. Debra Otto
Dr. Pam Sullivan April 26, 2011

Introduction Cultural competence has become a relevant issue in providing quality care within the health care system. Since the United States’ population is comprised of diverse racial and cultural backgrounds, cultural competence has become even more significant. Beliefs and approaches to health differ greatly from culture to culture because culture tends to shape the way we think, act, interact with others, but most importantly the way we respond to illnesses. These differences can serve as an immense resource for those who want to learn or explore how cultural differences can help to influence healthcare outcome. At the same time, this can pose enormous challenges to the healthcare provider who is called upon to deliver culturally competent care. This paper will address the historical aspects of cultural competence, its social, political, and legal implications, as well as, investigate the research findings, and finally demonstrate the importance of cultural competence in respect to today’s nursing challenges and the potential impact on the future.
History of Cultural Diversity in the United States and in Nursing
The United States of America has been regarded as a country of diversity since its foundation. Early settlers came from many parts of the European continent, speaking

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