How Important is Cultural Awareness to Healthcare?

HealthcareSeptember 14, 2017

How important is cultural awareness to providing quality healthcare? Very important, according to many professionals in the field.

But, before discussing the value of cultural awareness in healthcare, we need an understanding of just what that entails. Cultural competence in healthcare basically is our ability to provide care to patients with diverse backgrounds, values, and behaviors. Key to such patient-centered care is the ability to engage and educate people about their health needs…and how to address them.

This goes deeper than just speaking their language to understanding – even embracing – their beliefs and culture, which may include herbal remedies and/or healers. Beth Lincoln, MSN, RN, NP, who teaches a transcultural approach to nursing, suggests that listening and considering a patient’s ideas, then creating a plan of care built around the patient’s culture, tends to provide care that leads to more successful and beneficial outcomes.

“Be observant, and recognize your world view may differ from that of your patient,” Lincoln says, noting healthcare workers should interact with patients each and every time they provide them care. “It’s important to listen, observe and begin a dialogue,” she adds.

Social and Business Benefits of Cultural Competence

In addition to improved healthcare, cultural competence also can provide social and business benefits for providers and the community as a whole. Besides reducing medical errors, enhancing data collection and improving preventive care among patients, Becker’s Hospital Review suggests culturally aware healthcare builds mutual respect and understanding that increases patient trust, promotes more inclusive health responsibilities and expands patient inclusion on the social level. From a business perspective, it incorporated a wider variety of perspective and ideas, improves efficiency, and can increase a business’ market share. 

Not only that, but cultural competent care has been shown to reduce healthcare expenses – a good thing for all.

Becoming a Healthcare Provider

Before you can provide culturally competent healthcare, you must prepare to become a healthcare provider. Fortis College and Institute campuses offer a variety of medical and healthcare-related programs, from Medical and Dental Assisting to Nursing. To make Fortis your first step toward a rewarding career in healthcare, visit our site and review the program offerings that are available at the campus nearest to you.

And, good luck! 

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