Cultural Competency and Cultural Humility in Nursing Practice

Topics: Culture, Nursing, Health care Pages: 5 (1545 words) Published: November 29, 2012
Cultural Competency and Cultural Humility in Nursing Practice Lisa Watson
UMASS Boston Online
Professional Issues in Nursing
NU 360
Ms. Carol Moran
November 08, 2012

You may not like how the Presidential election turned out, but the victory of the Democrats was won partly by focusing on going after the Hispanic vote. The Hispanic population who voted for President Obama put him over the top to win. Hispanics identified with Obama. Somehow, he made a connection with this culture. Nursing can use that lesson to improve cultural sensitivity and provide respectful care of our numerous cultures. Every American makes up this country regardless of heritage. This country was built from immigrants from all over the world. America is referred to as “the melting pot.” The diversity of American culture continues to grow. Each patient a nurse interacts with is important, regardless of the color of their skin, the language they speak or the cultural traditions they follow. The diversity of America’s population continues to increase. The challenges of providing cultural sensitivity to a multi cultural America is an important variation healthcare organizations must be aware of. In an attempt to standardize terms and concepts to explain cultural competency to student nurses, the Purnell Model was developed by Larry Purnell, PhD. The Purnell model is a guide to adapting care that takes into account the diversity of beliefs from a variety of cultures. It is based on multiple theories and research. A circular schematic was developed that contains 12 domains (pieces of pie) or considerations. They include and represent the person’s: heritage, language, family roles, issues in workforce, bio cultural ecology, high risk behaviors, nutrition, pregnancy, death rituals, spirituality, health care practices and health care providers. Within the 12 domains it addresses: sociology, psychology, anatomy and physiology, biology, ecology, nutrition, pharmacology, religion, history, economics, politics and language. The inner 12 domains are encapsulated by a second circle that represents family, a third rim that represents society and finally an outer ring that represents global society. The “saw tooth” at the bottom of the diagram is cultural consciousness. ( see Figure 1.)

Nurses must learn how to communicate with a variety of people who speak other languages, have other beliefs, and ways that cultures influence the people we care for. Healthcare is becoming more and more personalized. People have more options of how to pursue their own health wellness, where to obtain their care and with whom. Nursing care of a growing diverse population must be addressed. As nurses we have to make our hospitals competitive and make people want to bring their care to our doors. Nurses need to learn how to better communicate with a variety of cultures and must know how to interact with these cultures in cultural sensitive ways depicting that culture if we want to remain competitive. Cultural Competency and Cultural Humility in Nursing Practice must be addressed. It is not an easy task. The term competence means to be competent, adequacy, in possession of required skills, knowledge, qualification, or capacity” (, 1995). To have qualifications or knowledge in all cultures is an impossible venture. However, humility as described by Tervalon (1998), “incorporates a lifelong commitment to self-evaluation and self-critique…., and to developing mutually beneficial…. partnerships with communities on behalf of individuals…” (p. 117). A task that can be accomplished in healthcare education is cultural humility. After all nurses do have a career lifetime to develop this self-evaluation.

Cultural competence is too broad to tackle. The task of developing education to teach cultural competence is a vague goal and has been called stereotyping. This goal is too large and not...
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