Emerging Standards of Care:
Cultural Competence in a Long Term Care / Skilled Nursing Facility
Emerging Standards of Care: Cultural Competence in a Long Term Care / Skilled Nursing Facility
Of the many challenges facing the nursing profession, cultural competence is an area of great need across all settings from educators, to students, bedside nurses, nurse managers, and nursing leadership. Cultural competence for a given entity, be it an educational institution or healthcare facility, is best measured by an appraisal of that entity, with respect to the cultural diversity of its staff and customers, along with its policies, procedures and actual ...view middle of the document...
This is important because a lack of real people, who can provide a true picture of their culture, means that nursing staff must then rely on textbooks, the media and the perspective of their own cultural background to form their opinions of other cultures. Reliance on these sources without in-person interactions can lead to reinforcement of stereotypes and biases which are not helpful in caring for those of other cultures. Interacting with real patients of other cultures is a strong driver to prompt nurses to want to learn about those cultures. This “want to learn” is cultural desire.
The second concept, cultural awareness, refers to the nurse’s awareness of their own cultural backgrounds that goes beyond mere race or primary ethnicity, such as white and southern U.S. or white and German (two Caucasian ethnicities in this writer’s local area). In addition, nurses must also become aware of stereotypes and biases they may hold in order to eliminate them effectively and move towards cultural competence.
Personal cultural awareness involves knowing the basis for certain familial beliefs related to healthcare, familial and other interpersonal relationships, beliefs related to foods, fluid intake, rest and activity. Examples include things like, the eldest male making decisions for the family or parents, eating spicy foods or chicken soup when sick with a cold, not taking showers/bathing during menses, or tying a red thread around a newborn’s wrist to protect against evil. As a nurse becomes more aware of his/her own culture, it will also support continued cultural desire concerning the culture of others.
The third concept, cultural knowledge, is an outgrowth of the first two. As a nurse accumulates information and understanding of his/her own and other’s cultures, he/she creates a pool of knowledge from which to draw that empowers effective interactions. Use of this knowledge communicates acceptance and respect that in turn, cultivates trust on the part of patients.
The fourth concept, cultural skill, is the implementation of cultural knowledge. It is exemplified by the nurse’s comfort in asking questions related to cultural norms for the patient as well as his/her use of questioning that elicits a sharing of information by the patient. In addition, cultural skill limits or prevents the occurrences of offense that could arise in information gathering interactions. Cultural skill results in patients feeling assured that their personal beliefs and practices will be taken into account.
The fifth and final concept, cultural encounters, involves those interactions with patients integral to the development of the previous four concepts. Each encounter with a person of another culture provides new information that stimulates cultural desire, improves cultural awareness, enlarges cultural knowledge and reinforces cultural skill.
Populations Served and Issues of Population Vulnerability
According to the website City-Data.com (2013), the ethnicity...