Cultural Competence in Healthcare

Cultural Competence in Healthcare

A rise in the nation’s diversity has brought both challenges and opportunities for healthcare systems and providers to deliver and create culturally competent services (GHPI, 2008, p. 2). Cultural competency is the aptitude of organizations and providers to provide health care services efficiently the cultural and social needs of patients. A culturally competent health care system aims at improving quality of care and health outcomes by addressing the ethnic and racial health differences (Kaiser, 2003, p. 6). Besides addressing the issues in these disparities, a culturally health care system also provides solutions to them in certain ways such as providing optimal care to patients regardless of people’s ethnic backgrounds, race or native languages, cultural and religious beliefs. It is also important to note that the phrase cultural competence was utilized first by Terry L. Cross together with his associates in 1989. Also, it was used again a decade later where medical care professionals began to gain formal education and training. Cultural competence later developed as an academic field rooted into the medicinal education program since then. This essay explores how cultural competency can be used effectively and in a right manner when dealing with a person of a diverse background. THIS IS A SAMPLE ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW

Cultural Values and Privileges

Cultural values are categorized as the assumptions, principles or beliefs that control the decision which people make and the various acts in the society (Walker, 2007, p. 3). Based on studies conducted, it has been discovered that there is significant agreement about values embraced and recognized by a significant number of Australians although there is no particular value system to which all Australians subscribe. These values are classified as either being descriptions or prescriptions. Descriptive values are taken to depict an existing reality, reflecting how things are at present. It is easy to understand the values that best describe a particular culture or society undertaking broad observations of actual choices made by individuals as they do their day to day activities and making interpretations of these choices as a replication of the underlying values.

The values are regarded as prescriptions by contrast which is meant to normative or ideal statements should be how things should be done (Reisinger & Dimanche, 2009, p. 122). This entails which things are wrong and right and what should be valued in the excellent community. Prescriptive and descriptive views often create much confusion, and therefore, becomes hard for the people to understand and differentiate them. Cultural privileges is a special right, immunity or advantage which is granted to an individual or a group of people in the country (Vass, 2014). In most cases, the privileges are granted to those members who belong to a dominant group in the society.

Cultural Competence in the Health Sector

Having defined cultural competence and exploring different values and privileges making up the culture it will be appropriate to determine major cultural competencies in the health sector. The different cultural aspects of competence in the health sector have been illustrated in the following discussion;


Individualism entails the degree of interdependence people maintain among each other (Podrug, et al., 2009, p. 2). It entails with whether people’s self- image is defined as an individual or a group of people. People in individualistic societies tend to take care of themselves with their direct families only while in collective society’s, individuals fit to groups and take care of each other in exchange for allegiance (Hofstede, 2011, p. 3). Australia is an extremely individualistic nation, and this transforms to a loosely-knit community where the anticipation is that people take care of themselves and their direct relatives.


In Australia, society is driven by the art of competition, success, and achievement. The aspect of masculinity is nurtured all through from the start of school, throughout the life of an individual and to the health sector. The factor is nurtured both when an individual is engaged in work and when pursuing leisure. However, the aspect of feminism is viewed as the quality of life in the society. In this case, the quality of an individual life is seen as the success against standing out of the crowd (Bergiel, et al., 2012, p. 72). In Australia, the nation scores 61% on masculinity dimension and is considered a more masculine-oriented society. The cultural value, in this case, is characterized by the fact that individuals endeavor to be the finest and become a winner. For this reason, Australian are proud of their success and achievements which have been propelled by this cultural value in the health sector.

Long-Term Orientation

In this section, the culture acknowledges the history when dealing with the future and present challenges in the society (Rinuastuti, et al., 2014, p. 144). The normative culture, in contrast, prefers to maintain the time-honored traditions and beliefs when viewing the change in the society. In Australia, the society exerts more pressure on the need for the population to live in the absolute truth where, they respect the traditions, and in most cases, their focus is more oriented in achieving the quick results. The dimension explains how every society maintains some links with their past dealings with the present and future challenges. Societies tend to give priority to these two goals differently (Soares, 2007, p. 277). Normative cultures uphold time-honored practices and beliefs while viewing changes in the society. Australia is a normative culture as it scores 21 in the dimension and people have a strong apprehension with obtaining the complete truth. Great respect for tradition is considerably exhibited in Australia a little propensity for future saving and an effort for achieving quick results.


The key aspect which brings a challenge to the entire population is the degree over which the young population is socialized. Socialization sets the basis of the human beings, and without it, we seize to be human. The dimension of indulgence is characterized as the extent to which the individuals control their impulse desires based on the methods which it was used when they were being raised (Yoo, et al., 2011, p. 193).

Power Distance index

This is described as the degree of inequality in existence, and it emphasizes the fact that every person is not equal in the society (Soares, et al., 2006, p. 277). It also describes the attitudes of different cultures towards the inequalities amongst people in a society or a country. The level towards which the unfortunate members of organizations or institutions within a country and accept power is unequally distributed. It deals with the fact that a society’s¬†¬† disparity is endorsed by the supporters and not the leaders. Australia scores a dimension of 36 in power distance index which is quite low, and hierarchy in organizations in the country is established for convenience

A reflection of the Cultural Practices

My cultural values, practices, and privileges have been evident about different clients and individuals in the health system. These values are reflected in my community‚Äôs day to day interaction in the health sector and therefore being everyone‚Äôs responsibility to uphold them. Organizations that practice cultural competence provide improved healthcare facilities, and there are mutual understanding and respect among the patients and persons also have amplified participation in the indigenous community (Health Research & Educational Trust, 2013, p. 3). Cultural competence reduces the cost and care disparities in organizations that put this into the application. Culturally competent healthcare organizations have been able to provide numerous benefits both for the patients and the society at large. Some of the social benefits include improved mutual respect and understanding among institutions and patients, improve trust and promotion of inclusion of all community members (Australian Government, 2005). The health benefits include enhanced health care, reduction of health care disparities in patient population and better collection of the patient’s data. It is therefore clearly evident that cultural competence is practiced in different healthcare institutions and organizations because of the improved health care provided and the recommendable results obtained. THIS IS A SAMPLE ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW

Application of the Strength-Based Approach to Culturally Competent Care

The benefits of cultural values and privileges are great importance and are widely applicable to the health care system in Australia. However, several aspects have to be put into consideration in the application of the aspects to cultural competence and such include:

  • Cultural sensitivity- this involves attitude and issues that affect others. A person‚Äôs attitude about themselves and others are directly relatable to their culture and their capability to explore areas that can lead to a deeper appreciation of their culture (Galanti, 2012, p. 2).
  • Culturally competent behaviors- this aspect entails carrying oneself in ways that demonstrate sensitivity and awareness to the needs of other cultures (King et al., 2010). It is important to note that cultural competence at a personal level exists only if it is practiced and developed in health care organizations (Beavers, 2011, p. 12).
  • Cultural awareness- this is concerned with a person‚Äôs understanding of how different cultures are similar and also different and the effect of the culture on peoples practices and beliefs. It is crucial to put into consideration how the culture mannerisms affect the health care systems (Hogg & Holland, 2010, p. 3).

Consideration of Cultural needs when delivering Culturally Competent care

Health care professionals encounter patients from different cultural backgrounds, and it is, therefore, crucial for a health expert to practice cultural competence during delivery of services (GHPI, 2008). In the case of a non- English speaking refugee having arrived recently from a country at war with his partner and young family, several cultural needs should be considered, and they include the following:

  • Language-It is important to use a language that is understood by both the refugees and the health care officer rendering the service. This will reduce language barrier between the parties involved and will also create a clear understanding of the needs of the patient leading to the providence of quality health care.
  • Cultural awareness-it is important to have a deep exploration of the refugee’s culture, their beliefs, and cultural background so that the healthcare officer will not do anything insensitive or against the refugee‚Äôs beliefs and practices.
  • Cultural encounter – the health officer delivering the services should also have experience of having interacted with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. This increases cultural competence with the cross-cultural patients, and this will make it easier for the health expert to create a good rapport with the refugee, therefore, leading to the provision of proper healthcare.


The diversity experienced in the nations’ health sector has brought about challenges which are related to the cultural competence, values, and privileges. The cultural values and privileges experienced in the Australia health society include the aspect of long-term orientation, power distance, and indulgence. The cultural values affect both the patients and the organization in matters related to cost and customer satisfaction. This is because a competent culture will reduce the healthcare disparities among people in the society. When delivering the culturally competent care, the key cultural needs to be considered include the language, cultural awareness, and cultural encounter. The observance of all the cultural diversities will help id deliver the best health care services to all patients irrespective of their race, color, ethnicity, economic status and background.


Health Research & Educational Trust, 2013. Becoming a culturally competent health care organization. Health Research & Educational Trust , June, pp. 1-10.

Hofstede, G., 2011. Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context. International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 12 January, pp. 1-28.

Hogg, C. & Holland, K., 2010. Cultural Awareness in Nursing and Health Care, Second Edition: An Introductory Text. 2, illustarted, revised ed. s.l.:CRC Press.

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