Cross-Cultural Health Perspectives

What are some of the common mistakes that people make when attempting to be culturally competent health care providers? In your opinion, what are the characteristics of a culturally competent individual? In today’s modern and heterogeneous society, more and more health care providers are aiming to be culturally competent in rendering health services to patients of different race, creed and nationality. In this regard, various methods/techniques have been utilized to achieve the aforementioned goal. Nevertheless, there are still common mistakes that are inevitable and could therefore be committed by health providers.

Among those mistakes are personal prejudices, ineffective communication techniques and inadequate knowledge on a particular culture. Hence, consistent efforts must be made and implemented to overcome these weaknesses and eventually emerge as culturally effective individuals. “What are the characteristics of a culturally competent individual? ” this must be an interesting question to all of us who are mainly concerned in the field of health. However, there is no such thing as a “perfect set of traits” to be tagged as culturally competent, but there are some crucial points that need to be considered in order to become one.

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The first characteristic of a culturally competent provider would be his/her ability to respect the individuality of a particular culture. In this manner, it can help to lessen or eventually eliminate his/her existing personal prejudices and can pave the way into a wider perspective of genuinely understanding the uniqueness of one culture. Further, a health provider must learn to enhance his/her communication skills as appropriate to a certain culture. This is because “communication and culture are closely intertwined” (Potter & Perry, 2001).

Moreover, another ideal characteristic of a culturally competent provider is his/her ability to study and to possibly immerse himself/herself into a client’s culture in order to augment his/her knowledge and understanding about it, thereby enhancing effectiveness and competence in rendering utmost care to the patients. Thus, these are only some of the characteristics that can help health care providers gain more insight in continuing their pursuit to become culturally competent individuals. References Potter, P. A. & Perry, A. G. (2001). Fundamentals of Nursing (Chapter 7, pp. 113-134). St. Louis: Mosby.