Cultural competence can be considered a mastery of skills and knowledge about a culture that allows the community health nurse to provide appropriate awareness, sensitivity, and care to each patient (Green & Reinchkens, 2013). Such diverse aspects that help define diverse cultures can include not only ethnicity but age, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, literacy and health literacy. Culture must be taken into consideration when treating and teaching a patient. The nurse must be educated and informed about their patient’s cultural preferences as it can greatly improve the patient’s experience and health.
Cultural preservation means preserving the patient or families rich culture and attempting to incorporate the culture with modern medicine. It can mean being open minded and respectful of other cultures. For example, a Muslim woman usually will not allow a male doctor to perform a pelvic exam, regardless of how Americanized they are. Nurses and doctors should take this into consideration when caring for the patient and make the appropriate accommodations.
Cultural accommodation would be the nurse advocating for the Muslim woman and her requests.
Cultural repatterning means to change the way something has always been done. Diet and exercise with a new diagnosis of congestive heart failure may be difficult. Cutting back on salt intake, which the patient and family may be very accustomed to, may require extensive teaching about cooking, foods, and diet emphasizing why it is so important.
Cultural brokering is like bargaining. For example, a stroke patient placed in a nursing home who now can only eat pureed foods is of the Indian culture. The basic food that is served in the facility is unappealing to this patient. The family starts pureeing some of their cultural meals from home and the patients’ appetite improves. The nurse may able to work with dietary to accommodate food preferences for this patient.
A barrier to applying any of the strategies would be resistance from other co-workers, other family members, or the facility for which the nurse works and is caring for the patient. Many people do not like change, especially when it comes to culture and tradition. Changing the way a family member cooks for the better of the patient may be met with resistance and may require much teaching from the nurse as well as supporting the patient in advocating for themselves. Unsupportive families’ members can contribute to further negative effects to the patient.
Grand Canyon University. (2015). Tools for community health nursing practice. Retrieved from https://lcugrad3.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/user/users.html?operation=loggedIn#/learningPlatform/loudBooks/loudbooks.html?viewPage=current&operation=innerPage¤tTopicname=Tools for Community Health Nursing Practice&topicMaterialId=ba216e91-79eb-462a-a0b0-218e3a629b91&contentId=ad114c23-4243-4f4b-896d-0bb058a41ca0&
Green, Z. D. & Reinckens, J. (2013). Cultural Competency in Health Care: What can nurses do? Maryland Nurse, 14(4), 16.