Tips from TSE: Train on cultural competence for safe patient care

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, October 2, 2008

The rapidly-changing American population is exemplified within your hospital's walls. With patients and staff from different cultural, language, and religious backgrounds, training nurses to be culturally competent and getting across to them the importance of this growing matter is crucial to providing safe, equitable patient care.

"We see healthcare disparities," says Josepha Campinha-Bacote, PhD, MAR, APRN, BC, CTN, CNS, FAAN, president of Transcultural C.A.R.E. Associates in Cincinnati, OH. "Nurses must be aware of their personal biases and prejudices."

Campinha-Bacote recommends focusing on the following areas when training on cultural competence:

  • Awareness. "It's about being aware of racism and making sure others are aware of it," says Campinha-Bacote. "Several studies prove that racism is alive and well in healthcare." Educators should thus have face-to-face discussions on different cultures and use case studies to highlight these differences.
  • Skills. Give your nurses the skills to perform a cultural assessment in a way that doesn't make the patient feel that he or she is a barrier to care, says Campinha-Bacote. Have your nurses ask patients questions like "What kind of treatments do you do at home?" and "Are there people in your family who you'd go to for help with your sickness?"

Editor's note: This excerpt was adapted from the October issue of The Staff Educator. Discover all the benefits of subscribing to The Staff Educator!


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