3 ways to make nurses more culturally competent

Cultural competency is a non-negotiable skill in today's hospital landscape, and nurses--who can make a significant impact as members of the healthcare team--have much to learn about the topic, according to Minority Nurse.

Cultural competency is especially important for nurses, according to the article, because they are in a frontline position and, in many cases, are the first healthcare professionals patients encounter. To help nurses improve their cultural competency, the article recommends that healthcare leaders: 

Use a pre-existing program: Offer education through a training program that has already proven effective, such as the Cultural Competence Leadership Fellowship, the article states. Since the available programs emphasize different aspects of cultural competency, leaders should do their homework to make sure the program fits with their culture. For example, a hospital that wants to improve its nurses' cross-cultural communication skills shouldn't use a program that focuses primarily on building partnerships in the community.

Develop your own program: The primary advantage of hospital leaders developing their own cultural competency program is that, naturally, they know better than anyone who it serves and what it needs to improve. However, before proceeding on this path, leaders should conduct thorough internal assessments, as many providers "don't know what they don't know," Josepha Campinha-Bacote, Ph.D., president and founder of Transcultural C.A.R.E. Associates in Cincinnati, told the publication.

Hire an outside consultant: The drawback of tasking internal staff with cultural competency training is the risk of a conflict of interest. For a more objective viewpoint, hospital leaders may want to consider hiring a consultant to assess the hospital's needs and then develop a program that targets those needs.

To learn more:
- read the article