From the staff development bookshelf: Components of cultural competence

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, July 19, 2012

Cultural competence is an ongoing process in which the healthcare provider continuously strives to effectively work within the cultural context of the client. Components of cultural competence include cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity, cultural knowledge, cultural skills, cultural encounters, and cultural desire.

  • Cultural awareness requires the examination of personally held beliefs about other cultures, as well as the development of an appreciation for the values, beliefs, and life practices of those cultures.
  • Cultural sensitivity is the awareness by an individual of his or her culture and the cultural values and beliefs of another and how these intersect. This includes openness, appreciation of another’s perspective, holistic communication, genuine interest, and being nonjudgmental about others.
  • Cultural knowledge is an active process of obtaining an educational foundation about specific physical, biological, and physiological differences.
  • Cultural skill is the process of gathering relevant cultural data and performing cultural assessments.
  • Cultural encounters are interactions between two or more individuals from different cultural backgrounds.
  • Cultural desire is the willingness and motivation of the individual to participate in the process of cultural competence. 

Book excerpt adapted from Competencies for Staff Educators: Tools to Evaluate and Enhance Nursing Professional Development by Julia Aucoin, DNS, RN, BC, and Barbabra Brunt, MA, MN, RN, BC.

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