As cultures within the U.S. continue to grow at a huge number, the understanding of how to deal with them must also grow. The U.S. is projected to become increasingly more ethnically and racially diverse by 2020. Anyone who has faced the challenge of visiting a hospital in a non-English-speaking country knows both how frustrating and how frightening it can be. When there is any impediment to the healthcare professional's ability to discuss your situation and options or your own ability to ask questions, the likelihood of receiving the care you need is compromised, sometimes dangerously.
If cultural differences are not communicated appropriately it can cause uncomfortable and confusing situations for both the healthcare provider and the patient. This can cause the patient to suffer due to loss of trust and respect, causing the patient to be less likely to follow a treatment plan. I feel that culturally competent healthcare is considered a human right. Everyone should receive the same treatment.
Knowledge of cultural practices can also be important in determining a correct diagnosis and treatment. Differences in culture, language, and literacy between providers and patients can lead to ineffective communication about symptoms, medications, and