Cultural and linguistic competence in nursing can be defined as a set of related behaviors and attitudes that integrate together within a healthcare system or institution and among the professionals that work within the system or institution with the purpose of enabling effective and efficient delivery of health services in cross-cultural scenario (Jeffreys, 2006). Below is a brief description of the eight principles of cultural competence: • Broadly defining culture
This involves identifying the other factors besides race, language and ethnicity that determine an individual’s sense of awareness in relation to other people (HRSA, 2001). This is because health services are delivered to an individual, and group characteristics may not be a reflection of a person’s attitudes and life experiences (Lundy & Janes, 2003). • Valuing Clients’ Cultural beliefs This involves caregivers or professionals in healthcare sufficiently learning the attitudes, knowledge and belief of their target population regarding healthcare and applying what is learned for the delivery of culturally competent care (HRSA, 2001).
• Recognizing complexity in Language interpretation This is identifying any hindrances to effective communication and targeted group due to language differences; and laying down strategies to address the same (HRSA, 2001). • Facilitating learning between caregivers and communities This is the creation of environments under which caregivers can learn about the beliefs and attitudes of the targeted cultural group and their impact on healthcare; while the targeted community learns more about how healthcare works (HRSA, 2001).
• Involving the community in the defining and addressing healthcare needs This is getting the community to fully participate in the formulation of health policies in the system that serves them so that managed care can be fully culturally competent (HRSA, 2001). • Collaborating with other agencies This is forging working alliances with groups that are familiar with the needs of the targeted community to boost the chances of delivering culturally competent services (HRSA, 2001).
• Professionalizing staff hiring and training This is setting cultural competence standards for new caregivers getting into the system; and continually training serving staff in emerging standards of cultural competence (HRSA, 2001). • Institutionalizing cultural competence This is making cultural competence standards an integral part of healthcare planning and optimizing hiring, training and funding to meet these standards (HRSA, 2001).
In conclusion, the above principles are very vital to the delivery of holistic healthcare services for healthcare professionals working in cultures different from them (Lundy & Janes, 2003). ? References Health Resources and Services Administration, HRSA (2001). Cultural Competence Works. Retrieved on 14/5/2010from ftp://ftp. hrsa. gov/financeMC/cultural-competence. pdf Jeffreys, M. R. (2006). Teaching Cultural Competence in Nursing and Health Care: Inquiry, Action and Innovation. Springer. Lundy, K. S. & Janes, S. (2003). Essentials of Community-based Nursing. Jones & Bartlett.