Cultural Competence: An Important Skill Set for the 21st Century

Cultural competence is having the necessary skills and training to understand, respect, and work alongside people that have a diverse background and culture. With the increasing diversity of people in the United States today, cultural competence is an important skill that leaders, managers, and coworkers are striving to succeed in. This essay will discuss the results of the cultural diversity assessment. It will describe areas of improvement for cultural diversity skills. Then we will analyze the relationship between cultural competence and teamwork and collaboration.

And distinguish between cultural awareness, cultural knowledge, cultural competence, and cultural sensitivity. Then finally explain how verbal and non-verbal communication may be misunderstood due to cultural differences.

Cultural competence is the skill to associate, harmonize, and interact with people who have a different social and cultural background. “We can define cultural competency as a set of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that lets people work together efficiently in cross-cultural situations” (Del Castillo & Zalenski, 2008). There must be an understanding that not everyone will be the same and we must learn to respect and accept this.

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To build relationships and teamwork, there must be cultural competence in the foundation. In the last few decades, we have strived to address and change the impact of racism, stereotyping, and inequity. Cultural competence emphasizes this and helps build on the awareness of cultural diversity in the workplace. “As the United States becomes more ethnically and culturally diverse, health care professionals will need to become more adept with working with the full range of cultures and languages represented by these groups” (Berry-Cabán, & Crespo, 2008).

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Assessment Results

Looking at the results from the cultural diversity assessment, the final score was 56. The assessment stated that it was a high range and that I do seek out the out-group people. It is important to include all people in a discussion and no one should be left out of the decision making. Being an introverted person gives me the knowledge and helps me understand how it feels to stand a bit on the outside and not have your opinions considered. There is a great need for different points and ideas when dealing with situations. You never know how thinking outside the box, or another point of view will help. The overall score wasn’t much of a surprise in the end. My childhood consisted of a very culturally diverse atmosphere. Being a child of the state helped give me a better understanding of other cultures. Racism and stereotyping weren’t allowed in a group home full of children with many different cultures. If you wanted friends, you learned how to accept the differences in others. My values tend to lean toward more equal opportunities for people and a complete understanding of differences among people.

Areas of Improvement

Looking at the cultural diversity assessment, there was a struggle to find areas that would need work. My personal outlook on diversity has always been neutral or flexible due to my upbringing. But I saw no reason in pushing this acceptance on others. Diversity awareness is one of the critical elements in the workplace. There must be an acceptance of differences in others if you wish to succeed. When dealing with cultural competence, the two areas that might need work is helping others embrace the differences in others and learning to speak out against the conflict.

The first goal to set would be helping others with cultural awareness. In the next two years, I will be continuing my education at Capella University. This time can be spent reaching out and socializing with others through discussions and engaging with other students. Society says actions speak louder than words. Through my actions of acceptance and open-mindedness, others might duplicate my actions. My goals for dealing with cultural awareness will last longer than a year. Once Capella is completed, I strive to set this goal in the workplace as well. A healthcare administrator has leadership over others. Their actions are looked on by others and by setting an example of acceptance, these actions can be copied. Being open and honest about cultural acceptance can help as well.

The second goal is to speak out against judgment and nonacceptance toward people. I struggle in stepping up to point out when there is a lack of acceptance in cultural differences. There will be conflict among people. But if you don’t step up and point out why and what can be done to change it then it keeps going. Cultural awareness is not part of your genetic makeup, but a learned skill. One must be taught and understand cultural awareness. In the next two years of Capella, if I see something that needs addressing then I will either seek the person privately or inform faculty. Some people might not even be aware that they are culturally unaware until it’s pointed out. This goal will fall over into the job I acquire. Being an administrator, there will come times that coworkers and team members will conflict due to cultural differences. It will be my place to speak up and educate them on how to be more culturally aware of others.

Hopefully, these two goals can help spread the awareness of cultural diversity with my peers here at Capella, and when I achieve a job later. Cultural competence in others can’t be something everyone knows but learned over time. One way to help others learn is to be an example to them and speaking up about it. Silence never taught anyone a skill.

Relationship between Competence, Teamwork, and Collaboration

Cultural competence is an important foundation for teamwork and collaboration. Not everyone will have the same ideas, ethics, background, and culturally influenced behaviors. Cultural competence can reduce blocks between people when struggling to find teamwork in a group of people. It will also develop an understanding of other viewpoints and ideas. Daft (2017) explains that individuals who contrast in different ways, regardless of whether it be race, social foundation, sexual orientation, physical capacity, instructive dimension, way of life, age, conjugal status, or different measurements, are bound to have assorted sentiments and viewpoints. This decent variety of thought implies there is a more extensive and more profound base of thoughts, assessments, and encounters for critical thinking, creativity, and advancement.

To have teamwork and collaboration, one must understand that not everyone will think and feel the same way as you do. One must see beyond their own cultural standings, recognize others’ cultural values, and find ways to collaborate as a team. “It is impossible to learn the intricacies of every culture, religion, lifestyle, tradition, or value. Therefore, learning how to communicate with empathy and the ability to respond to people’s’ verbal and nonverbal cues can go a long way in establishing rapport and a collaborative relationship with people of diversity” (Bahreman & Swoboda, 2016). There are five components to having collaboration in teamwork using cultural competence. You must value diversity, completing a cultural self-assessment, understanding differences in yourself compared to others, gaining cultural knowledge, and adapting to diversity. Cultural differences can determine how people communicate with each other. Culture also has instilled rules that dictate how a person behaves toward others. Learning and understanding these unwritten rules can be powerful in understanding how people act and help organizational performance.

Knowledge, Awareness, Sensitivity, and Competence

Cultural competency can be broken down into stages of development. The first three are important and concludes to full cultural competence. The stages are cultural knowledge, cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity, then cultural competence. To build lasting relationships, it is fundamental to have an understanding of cultural differences and how the differences can help us succeed in life and work.
. Cultural knowledge is what a person knows by how they grew up. Our relatives, education, and everyday life make up our culture. Cultural knowledge is getting a familiarity of different cultural social, history, ethics, standards, and belief systems. A good example of cultural knowledge is Asian people do not encourage self-praise. Cultural awareness is the self-assessment of biases and prejudices of a person. This is an awareness of principles, morals, and customs due to their own upbringing. We must be aware of the cultural differences first before we can respect them. Cultural sensitivity is the skills to recognize, learn, adjust to the differences between you and other people’s cultures. Respecting and having an appreciation for other cultures can help you grow in your understanding of your peers. Cultural competence is a skill that is built over time to harmonize, work, and cooperate with people of a different culture and background. “An understanding of cultural values is an important part of cultural competence” (Berry-Cabán, & Crespo, 2008).

Having a full understanding of each of these stages is important for healthcare leaders. Diversity and cultural differences are growing every day with the influx of new entrants into the workforce. This involves people of color, immigrants, different languages, and sexes. These changes are increasing more and more each day. These cultural variances can either strengthen or hurt a company depending on how they accept diversity. Leaders need to have to skills to understand, acknowledge the differences, and build on the strengths each person has. These skills will also help eliminate the bias, judgment, and prejudice between other coworkers. If leaders can show cultural competence within the organization, other people will see this and are more likely to be influenced to act the same way.

Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

Communication is a form of words and nonverbal words. Verbal communication can be hindered due to language barriers and confusion of words. If you look at the American language compared to England language you see many differences. Even though both are based on the English language, some words may mean different things. European’s words fish and chips are American’s fish and french fries. Language barriers and misunderstandings can lead to poor communication. “Addressing language barriers can reduce the harm that comes from critical health care information not being communicated correctly, and it contributes to greater patient satisfaction and adherence to treatment” (Markova, & Broome, 2007).

Nonverbal communication can impact people just as our spoken words can. There needs to be an understanding of nonverbal communication between different cultures. Not every gesture we have is compatible with other cultures. If we look at American greetings compared to Japanese greetings, they vastly differ in nonverbal communication. We Americans will shake hands to express greetings to another person. The Japanese do not shake hands but bow to greet others. The practice of their bow is based on a hierarchical scale, angle, and how often to bow. Another nonverbal communication is clapping for approval. Hearing people will clap to express congratulation and praise. The deaf will raise their hands and shake them to show approval. There are many differences in nonverbal communication across cultural lines.

For a healthcare leader to help minimize these misunderstandings, they would need to understand just how different each person is and have the knowledge to communicate correctly. They need to understand that verbal and nonverbal communication rules will be different between cultures. This can help when dealing with patients and their families. Some patients may have different nonverbal cues or actions that deal with how they are touched. Our rules might be insulting to others of another culture. The first step would be to be aware there are differences and learn the variances. If we foresee the conflict, we can adjust to avoid the issues in communication. The rules that cover verbal communication expand to nonverbal communication as well. A good start on verbal communication is to learn basic words in that language like thank you, please, and greetings. Learning some cultural nonverbal communication can include how to greet, personal space, eye contact, and facial expressions. Daft (2017) explains that leaders in health care can minimize misunderstandings by learning and understanding the sociocultural structure and growing in his/her own cultural intelligence. One can’t know everything about cultural differences but if you can be culturally flexible and adaptable then you will be successful.

Conclusion

Cultural competence is a key factor in healthcare to our ever-growing society in diversity. Knowing and understanding cultural differences can be a deciding factor for effective care versus a lawsuit. Failure to recognize our cultural differences in work and personal lives can divide us. Competence in the different cultures is a work in growth and not the last stop. Learning knowledge, awareness, sensitivity, and verbal or nonverbal communication helps build our competence skills. We will continue to grow and improve who we are and acceptance in others. Being more culturally competent in this diverse society helps us explore and discover different perceptions in this world. This knowledge and understanding can give you a better view of people and where you stand in it.

References

Bahman, N. T., & Swoboda, S. M. (2016). Honoring diversity: Developing culturally competent communication skills through simulation. Journal of Nursing Education, 55(2), 105-108. doi: https://dx.doi.org.library.capella.edu/10.3928/01484834-20160114-09Berry-Cabán, C. S., PhD, & Crespo, H., EdD. (2008). Cultural competency as a skill for health care providers. Hispanic Health Care International, 6(3), 115-121. Retrieved from http://library.capella.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fsearch.proquest.com%2Fdocview%2F205497960%3Faccountid%3D279Daft, Richard L. (2017). The Leadership Experience, 7th Edition. Cengage Learning. VitalBook file.
Del Castillo, R., & Zalenski, J. (2008). Is your organization culturally competent? Nonprofit World, 26, 18-21. Retrieved from http://library.capella.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fsearch.proquest.com%2Fdocview%2F221335056%3Faccountid%3D27965Markova, T., & Broome, B. (2007). Effective communication and delivery of culturally competent health care. Urologic Nursing, 27(3), 239-42. Retrieved from http://library.capella.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fsearch.proquest.com%2Fdocview%2F220154354%3Faccountid%3D279

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Cultural Competence: An Important Skill Set for the 21st Century. (2020, Sep 03). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/cultural-competence-an-important-skill-set-for-the-21st-century-essay

Cultural Competence: An Important Skill Set for the 21st Century

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