When I first started this course I began to ask myself, “Am I culturally competent?” Did I even know what cultural competency means? The Office of Minority Health (2005) describes cultural competency as “a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals that enables effective work in cross-cultural situations.” Every year the healthcare system I work for includes this in our annual training. We are to watch a video on cultural diversity and answer a series of questions to deem that I am competent in cultural diversity for our facility. The problem with this educational method is that the testing system will allow you to answer the questions without having to watch the video. So how does this make anyone competent? As a nurse in a very busy labor and delivery unit, we see a very diverse group of individuals deliver at our facility. Our population consists mostly of lower socio-economic individuals.
The majority of this population is Caucasians, but we also serve Black Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic, and Asian Americans. Many are on state insurance programs, receiving aid for food and shelter. The Hispanic population usually self pays for the hospital bills. Even though this is a very diverse group, nurses must maintain culturally competent to take care of all our patients. As a part of our admission history we are required to ask if the patient has any cultural or spiritual beliefs. If they do have special requests, we are to call the chaplain service team within our facility. Chaplain services consist of a culturally diverse team of employees that are Muslim, Christian, Budapest, Catholic, Baptist, and more.
The chaplain services team is a residency program that trains these individuals on how to provide care for cross-cultural patients. I know I have a lot more to learn regarding Cultural Competencies, but I am excited about learning. I have a vision to share the information I learn through this course with my leadership team at hillcrest. After reading the syllabus of what is to come, I am excited to learn about the Native American cultural. Not growing up in Oklahoma and missing out on learning about this unique group, I think I am getting more and more excited to hear about what the Choctaw, Cherokee, and more are all about.
Office of Minority Health (OMH)- (2005). What is cultural competency? Retrieved from http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlID=11
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