The Value of Cultural Competence in Nursing

Cultural competency in nursing refers to an appreciation of the traditions and characteristics of patients’ cultures and respect for their ideas and perspectives, even if they differ from those of the nurse. Cultural competency, according to Sharifi, Adib-Hajbaghery, and Najafi (2019), comprises “cultural awareness, cultural knowledge, cultural sensitivity, cultural skill, cultural proficiency, and dynamicity” (p. 3). Nurses must be culturally competent since it significantly impacts the quality of services delivered to patients and the efficacy of treatment.
Cultural competency and diversity concepts are inextricably linked to the idea of patient and family-centered care. A culturally competent nurse will consider a patient’s and their family’s perspectives and beliefs while developing a treatment plan. For example, blood transfusion is prohibited for Jehovah’s Witnesses, so medical workers should look for other ways to assist patients from this community.

The case of the Muslim woman is one example that demonstrates the necessity of cultural awareness in nursing practice. Under Islamic law, women are not permitted to be viewed by males who are not family members. The severity of these laws varies according to whether a person is Shia or Sunni. If a female patient needs to display a part of her body covered by her clothes, she can only be observed by a female physician. In my practice, a Muslim woman refused to take treatment from a male doctor because it violated the principles of her religion. To deal with this predicament, the doctor asked a female nurse to assist him in performing the necessary medical treatment.

N. Sharifi, M. Adib-Hajbaghery, and M. Najafi (2019). A concept study of cultural competency in nursing 1-8 in International Journal of Nursing Studies. 0020-7489 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2019.103386

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