Cultural competency in nursing essay

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Culture has a great impact on a person’s thinking and behavior. Culture also influences how a person may view and approach their own health, as well as their unique lifestyle choices that will affect their health. Nurses who practice culturally competent care are respectfully caring for patients by keeping the context of the patients’ culture and/or belief systems at the forefront of their minds. Community health nurses can become skilled at cultural competency through keeping an open mind, and be open to staying in a state of continuous learning as they strengthen their skills, and receive new knowledge about cultural practices of others as they relate to health. Nurses must also be willing to remain honest in their assessment of their own ignorance or biases. The three practices that nurses can use to demonstrate cultural competency are: cultural preservation, cultural accommodation and cultural repatterning.

Cultural preservation involves the nurse supporting cultural health practices that contain both practical usage and scientific evidence for their effectiveness. One example is how acupuncture practiced in many Asian cultures.


Cultural accommodation is the practice of supporting and encouraging cultural practices that are may not have scientific proof of their effectiveness, yet these practices are not necessarily harmful either. Cultures that place great emphasis on belief of spirits, such as Mexican and other Asian cultures may do rituals such as putting totems near a babies, or coffins with the deceased so as to honor the belief that these items will be with the deceased in their afterlife (Huebner, 2009). Cultural competency in nursing essay.

Cultural repatterning is more difficult to practice as this activity involves the nurses inoffensively making efforts to deter from cultural health practices that are actively harmful. The next step is to attempt to encourage the patient to find an alternative method. (Huebner, 2009).Genital mutilation may be one example.

A familiar roadblock to cultural competency is that of ignorance. Prejudice and a sheltered life also pose barriers. Nurses who have lived in communities that are homogeneous, with little exposure to those of different cultures are more likely to harbor prejudices, even if they are unconscious. They may also be resistant to emphasizing with those of other cultures, different socioeconomic class and educational levels (Maurer & Smith, 2012). Empathy is one of the greatest tools a nurse has to offer, and should be practiced amongst all patients. An example may be a strong nationalist and religious nurse who is prejudiced against non-Christians and is suspicious of patient who is Muslim and wears religious head coverings. cultural competency in nursing essay.



Huber, L. (2009). Making community health care culturally correct. American Nurse Today, 4(5). Retrieved October 17, 2017, from

Maurer, F. & Smith, C. (2012). Community/public health nursing practice (4th ed.). St. Louis, MI: Elsevier.