From the staff development bookshelf: Strategies to promote cultural competence

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, May 27, 2011

Nursing professional development (NPD) educators can play a key role in improving cultural competence. Suggested topics to include in education are the relevance of cultural competence, culture and health culture, intercultural communication, language issues, and skills application.

Lack of cultural awareness of both educators and staff can be overcome with information and resources about different cultures, including using speakers from various ethnic and cultural groups. Educators may encounter resistance and be told that there is no time for such programs, but this can be overcome by changing the healthcare providers' mindset and encouraging them to put themselves in their patients' shoes, thereby allowing them to identify potential needs.

Ethnocentrism is the belief in the superiority of one's own ethnic group, which can lead to bias and prejudice against individuals who are not of the same ethnic group. Focusing on intercultural communication skills can help combat this problem, as can teaching skills to address differences, which can be part of the overall cultural awareness campaign.

Many staff members are not aware of the cultural diversity resources available. Most organizations have a number of resources available on cultural competence, including policies and procedures, resource materials, individuals with expertise in that area, and language-interpreting services.

NPD educators can document cultural competence by preparing and presenting information for staff on this topic, or by describing a situation where they addressed cultural competence in an educational program.

Source: Book excerpt adapted from Competencies for Staff Educators: Tools to Evaluate and Enhance Nursing Professional Development by Barbara A. Brunt, MA, MN, RN-BC, NE-BC.

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