Emerging Standard of Culturally Competent Care

Table of Contents


In old days many patients went to see health care providers with a sole expectation of being relieved of their sickness. Many cultural heritages exist globally and people are not restricted within their area of origin, freedom of movement has greatly contributed to cultural diversity in many parts of the world. For instance it is estimated that by 2020 35% of the American residents will be composed of racial minority as opposed to the present 28% of the total population (Goldsmith, 2000, pp. 1). Increased cultural diversity requires health professional to adjust the mode of health care delivery in order to meet the needs of the entire population adequately. All cultural attitudes must be accommodated in the health care delivery system for the purpose of universal health care delivery. Culturally proficient health care requires health care providers to appreciate different cultural heritage and how they affect health of individuals. They are also supposed to respond appropriately to different cultural heritage such as cultural values and language that patients expect from health care providers as it pertain their cultural heritage. This can be achieved by training health care providers on how to handle specific illness which are associated to a particular community. Health care providers are also encouraged to familiarize themselves with many cultures in order to be able to handle the cultural diversity in the medical field. Cultural differences may act as a barrier in services delivery for instance incorrect diagnosis may be made as a result of language barrier. Efficient culturally proficient health care system contribute largely in effective treatment of patients regardless of their cultural background, doctors and other health care providers are able to deliver appropriate medical services to the patients. The essay seeks to define cultural competent health care and explore its contributions in the medical profession in reference to mayo clinic in Rochester, Minnesota (Leineinger, 1995, p. 225).


Cultural competent care is a health discipline that requires the health care providers to have fundamental information on a patient’s culture. Cultural aspects that may have direct or indirect on health of individual for instance diet, values, language of communication, family background and religion. Some communities prefer a certain diet that may predispose them to diseases such as obesity and heart related diseases. In other communities traditionally a particular member of the family is in charged of health concerns of the family. Health care providers need to understand all these issues so that they are able to make a correct diagnosis and informed decision on the management of patients from diverse cultural settings. Culturally competent health care providers are those who are able to effectively deliver health services to patients of from any cultural setting. New cultural concerns which affect health directly or indirectly continue to emerge hence it is important that health care providers move on with improving their competency in delivering health care services across cultures. Mayo clinic has developed a curriculum that provides health care providers with information, abilities, and tools to offer culturally suitable health care services. The training help doctors, nurses and other health care providers to acquire knowledge of cultural practices that enable them to provide medical care to individual patients (Campinha-Bacote, 2007, p. 38).

Health care providers are able to understand their own cultural practices and their possible implications on health care delivery, they also appreciate the roles played by other cultures in health promotion. Other outcomes of the training include the ability to communicate effectively with clients with varied language and cultural settings. Health care providers are also able to conduct a comprehensively cultural assessment and to identify any possible implication on heath whether positive or negative. Mayo clinic value and encourage diversity of both the patients and health care providers. Cultural competency of nurses and the entire workforce is enhanced by conducting clinical research that allows inclusion of minority in the health care system. They seek to understand their cultural heritage by strengthening associations with ethnic minority in order to get trust from the minority communities. People from all cultural background are encouraged to take part in the clinical research in order to help health care providers with a wide range of cultural knowledge. Monitoring and evolution of the cyclical research is often done to ensure that all ethnic minorities are included in the research. In order to achieve this Mayo clinic admit students from the ethnic minority and also employ staff from these communities (Warren, 2008, pp.67).


Mayo clinic in Rochester, Minnesota is one of the largest medical center globally, the clinic receive patient from all over the word. An estimated population of about 350, 000 patients from all over the world seek medical attention from mayo clinic annually. This population consists of diverse cultural practices; health care providers need to understand the varied cultures in order to be able to deliver quality health services to patients all over the world. The cultural diversity of patients seeking medical care in mayo clinic raised the need for training health care providers on cultural competency. An online learning center was launched in 2009 in attempt to handle health need of increasing population with diverse cultural heritage. Multicultural population in Minnesota is expected to rise from 14% in 2005 to 25% by year 2035. This diverse population is expected to seek medical care within Minnesota region notably from mayo clinic one of the largest medical center in the region. As the culture of Minnesota resident became more and more diverse health care systems predict a large population of patients who may no be able to communicate in English (Lavizzo, 1996, pp.98). Also a good population which is unfamiliar with the health systems offered in the region is expected by health care providers. This is likely to lead to an element of distrust by foreigners on how health services are delivered in the region. Cultural differences, language barriers and religious concerns would have a lot of impact on how medical services are delivered in this region.

Apart from cultural differences that exist in this population poverty is also a concern, a good number of this population is poor hence they can not afford to settle medical bill in the particular medical center. Individuals who can not clearly communicate with the health care providers are at risk of receiving poor medical care as there are possibilities of incorrect diagnosis. Foreigners who do not trust the kind of medical system employed in Mayo clinic are likely to doubt medical instructions/ prescription given by health care providers in the clinic. These patients are likely to develop chronic problem as some may not seek immediate attention while others may default from medication offered at the clinic. Populations from regions whereby their cultural practices such religion and diet predisposes them to certain diseases are likely to suffer for long before health care providers make a proper diagnosis. This is mostly experienced in situations where the particular health care provider does not understand cultural background of the patients. For instance people from Latino have are 100%-200% more likely to suffer from diabetes compared to non-Hispanic white people. This group is therefore at very high risk of suffering from kidney failure, congestive heart disease and blindness if early diagnoses are not made. Latinos population has highest of cholesterol level among all ethnic groups in America. African –American have a greater prevalence of sickle cell anaemia than other ethnic groups in the United States. African –American males have 300% greater death rate from cancer of prostrate compared to white men. Chinese Americans have greater incidences of somatic sickness as a result of stress expressed by emotional strain whereby the patients have difficulties discussing about it. Failure to understand the cultural origin of the above groups is likely to hinder efficient delivery of medical care services. Some may end up dying out of delayed diagnosis hence delayed treatment (Foley & Wurmser, 2007, pp. 124).

Standards met

In attempt to achieve culturally competent health system Mayo clinic has established a system of creating cultural awareness to health care providers. A cultural competency method that does not necessarily advocate for treatment of patient in a similar way as their native country has been developed. A system that compels health care providers to seek to understand how different cultural heritage affect health and how they can use this knowledge in order to improve health service delivery. Nurses and other health care providers are able to understand cultural background of their patients for instance lifestyles and diets which may increase risk of certain diseases. Immediate and correct diagnoses are made and health care providers are able to offer the right medication. Interaction of health care providers has been enhanced through community outreach activities, health care providers go out to the field to carry out clinical research in the minority groups. This approach has motivated nurses and other health care providers to learn different cultural practices and how they affect health. Mayo medical center admit student from ethnic minority, interaction of students enhance learning of different cultural practices which is extended to delivery of medical care later in their practice. Staff recruitment has also taken a diverse dimension; incorporation of staffs from ethnic minority in the health care system has also improved cultural competency care (Cooper, 2006, p.7).

Technological developments in the contemporary times allow online interaction between patients and health care providers, interaction among health care providers from different cultural background also exist. During interaction exchange of cultural ideas that are used to improve delivery of health services in diverse cultural settings has been achieved. Mayo medical center use interpreters in order to cope with language barrier, health care providers understand patient’s history in a better way if the information is interpreted. Incorrect and delayed diagnoses have been minimized, health care are also advised on incidences that allow them to call for an interpreter. For instance nurses and other health care providers should call for an interpreter when the patients can not communicate in English and if the patient is deaf. Cultural assessment session have been offered, this has helped health care providers with better understanding of diverse cultural setting hence they can comfortably handle patients from diverse cultural settings. Cultural assessment has also helped health care providers to identify cultural practices that have adverse effects on individual health, this way they are able to advocate for behavior change geared toward improvement of individual’s health. Introduction of videos that are culture specific has been adopted to enlighten health care providers on culture sensitive issues affecting vulnerable groups in the society for instance Female Genital Cutting. Number of refugees and immigrants the United States from nations that carry out Female Genital Cutting is on the rise. Videos are used to inform health care providers from regions where it is not practiced on its implications and how to handle victims of female genital cutting (Canales & Bowers, 2001, p.107).

However these standards have not been met in some places where discrimination against of ethnic minority is still observed. They are underrepresented in health sector hence their cultural practices are not upheld when health care providers are offering medical care services. In some occasions they are treated with lesser respect as opposed to native patients, native patients receive quality health services. Those who can not communicate in English are charged for interpretation fees in hospitals, competency of the interpreter is overlooked by health professionals whereby they pick on any individual to serve as an interpreter. Health care providers are not offered official training on different cultural practices and their effect on health of individuals and how the practices may affect delivery of medical care services. (Center for translational health activities, 2005, p. 3).


Patients’ population handled by nurses is diverse; patients seeking medical care speak different languages and uphold multiple cultural practices. This diversity largely affects delivery of health services but also serves to improve clinical abilities of nurses. In their daily activities of offering health services nurses meet a diverse patient population that present with diverse health conditions. Attempt to address diverse health condition aid in improving their nursing skills and improve their entire competency. Culturally proficient nursing care increase knowledge and perfect nursing skills, nurses begin by understanding the patients and both their needs and expectations. This also involves understanding of patient’s cultural practices and customs in order to be able to offer quality individual care. Nursing abilities are greatly improved; nurses are able to handle diverse health problems in a better way. Cultural competent care also enhance good relationship between patient and health care providers, patient are able to confine their personal information to health care providers. In trying to understand cultural practices of their patients, health care provider encourage patient –nurse bonding which motivates patients to trust health care providers. Health care providers are able to make correct diagnoses within a short period of history taking and prescribe proper medications for the patients. This is enhanced by the fact that health care providers clearly understand other underlying factors especially those related to cultural practices of the patience. At the long run number of death as a result of incorrect diagnosis are reduced or avoided completely (Goldsmith, 2000, pp 3).

Improvement of health seeking behavior is also enhanced; many foreigners seek medical care since they trust the health care system in place. Health resources are well utilized; appropriate drugs are prescribed to treat correct diseases. When cultural competent care is not employed in delivery of medical care, the scope of knowledge for health care providers is limited. Nurses are not able to understand and to address diverse health problem experienced in health sectors, they are only able to handle health problem affecting patients from their ethnic background. Delayed and incorrect diagnosis are made, this may result to progress of diseases to chronic stages or death of patients. Mistrust of health services especially by foreigners is also observed, some foreigners feels that health care providers are not competent enough to handle their health problems. Such patients resist health care providers instructions at the expense of their health and some may end up dying. A distant relationship between health care providers and patient exist where compete care is not met (Warren, 2008, pp. 27).

Comment on solution

Cultural competent care plays a fundamental role in management of patients; it enhances delivery of quality health care to diverse patient population. Health sectors that have not met culturally competent care standard should train health care providers on how to address health problems from a diverse patient population. Continuous training should be offered so that health care providers are updated with changing cultural diversity. These health sectors should adopt strategies that ensure recruitment of staff from diverse cultural background so that they are able to promote and to share cultural experiences affecting health delivery with colleagues. Language assistance is also important in areas where cultural competent care is not yet set, they should offer free interpreter services to ensure that patient and health care providers understands each other clearly. This avoids distortion of information when patients seek medical care. Patient’s opinion on language to be used by heath care providers should be sought before embarking into treatment procedure. Preferred language motivates clients to express themselves clearly hence boosting their confident. Health sector should carry out a continuous cultural assessment in order to identify different cultural practices and how the affect health of individual and delivery of medical care. Health administrators should explain the importance of cultural competent care to health care provider, how it improves their competency so that they are motivated to learn many cultural practices as possible (United States of health and human services, 2007, p. 49).


Emerging culturally competent care seeks to build capacity of health care providers so that they are able to understand diverse patient population. Continuous training offered to nurses and other health care providers help them to keep with changing cultural practices. It also upholds patient’s needs and respect their opinion as far as the issue of health service deliveries is concerned. Patients are permitted to choose an interpreter or to use the hospital interpreter. Benefits of culturally compete care are uphold by nurses, the practice allow them to enrich their medical abilities. Better understanding of individuals and the role played by cultural practices in treatment are addressed. Emerging cultural competent care promote recruitment of ethnic minority to work in major medical centers, students from ethnic minority groups are also admitted to colleges in these centers. This enhances interaction of professionals from diverse cultural background allowing them to share skills on how to handle patients from different cultural background. However, some medical centers have not embraced culturally compete care in health care system, minority groups are underrepresented in health sectors. Patients are not respected and discrimination against foreigner patients is witnessed (Campinha-Bacote, 2007, pp. 45)


Culturally competent care plays a fundamental role in delivery of health care services. Efficient culturally proficient health care system contribute largely in effective treatment of patients regardless of their cultural background, doctors and other health care providers are able to deliver appropriate medical services to the patients. When health care providers understand cultural practices of a diverse patient population they handle they are able to make correct diagnoses. Correct diagnosis enables them to make informed decision on management of the particular patient. A system that compels health care providers to seek to understand how different cultural heritage affect health and how they can use this knowledge in order to improve health service delivery. Cultural competent care enriches medical abilities of nurses and improves the relationship between patients and health care providers. Emerging cultural competent patient care has greatly improved health care systems; health care providers receive continuous training on diverse cultural practices, how they affect health of particular individuals. Health care providers are also informed on how these practices may affect efficiency of health care delivery. However, some health have not set these standards, ethnic minority are underrepresented and discriminated.

Reference List

Campinha-Bacote, J. (2007). The Process of Cultural Competence in the Delivery of Healthcare Services. Web.

Canales, M. K., & Bowers, B. J. (2001, ). Expanding conceptualizations of culturally competent care. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 36(1): 102-111.

Center for Translational Health Activities. (2005). Minority Inclusion. Web.

Cooper B. A. (2006). Influence of nurse characteristics on the acquisition of cultural competence. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 3(1):1-10. Web.

Foley, R., & Wurmser, T. A. (2004). Culture Diversity/A Mobile workforce command creative leadership, new partnerships, and innovative approaches to integration. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 28(2):122-128.

Goldsmith, O. (2000). Culturally Competent Health Care. Web.

Lavizzo, R & Mackenzie, E.R. (1996) Cultural Competence: Essential Measurements of Quality for Managed Care Organizations. Web.

Leineinger, M. (1995). Transcultural Nursing: Concepts, Theories, Research and Practices. New York: McGraw-Hill.

United States of health and humanity services. (2007). National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services. Web.

Warren, N. (2008).Promoting Cultural Competency in the Care of Women and Communities Affected by Female Genital Cutting. Web.

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