Kickstart your cultural competency program

Nurse Leader Insider, March 19, 2007

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Nurse Leader Insider!

With the diversity of your patient and staff population increasing, having a cultural competency program in place can put you ahead of the game and lead to positive outcomes throughout your facility.

Before designing a program, you need to make an assessment of your organization and determine its cultural competency needs. There are several assessment options to consider, said Lawrence W. James, founder and CEO of the Center for Multicultural Competence in Healthcare Organizations, based in Cincinnati. James recently spoke during the HCPro, Inc., audioconference "Strategies to Cultivate Cultural Competence: How to Assess and Train Your Nursing Staff."

James described the decisions that need to be made when designing an assessment tool to determine an organization's cultural competency needs. Organizations should consider the following:

  • Individual or organizational-"Will you be assessing primarily the individual within your organization, or are you looking at an overall organizational assessment?" James said. "Our recommendation is that you consider doing both, because both have value and they both bring insight to one another."
  • Employee or patient-"Blending offers more value," James said. "Employees' attitudes, opinions, and actions go a long way in determining what happens with the patient within our institutions."
  • Internal or external-Will the focus be on the internal environment of the institution or the external environment around the institution? "Jointly, these two approaches offer the most value. It allows you to have what we call a perception-versus-reality check," James said.
  • Online or on site-"You can take these assessments online, versus being on site within your institution," James said.
  • Self or third party-A self-assessment can be done, or a third party can do the assessment. "Both have value," James said. "There's added value to having a third party come in and conduct the assessment, because it brings more credibility to your audience."

To take a free assessment quiz on the cultural competency needs of your organization, visit

Editor's note: For more information about this audioconference, visit or call customer service at 877/727-1728.

Source: The Staff Educator, HCPro, Inc., March 2007

    Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Nurse Leader Insider!

    Most Popular