Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cultural Competency

For the last few decades in nursing we've been writing and talking about the importance of being "culturally competent," but what does that mean? Is it the correct terminology? Can someone be culturally competent or culturally incompetent? That terminology makes it seem all or none.

If we don't use that phrase, what do we use? Is there other terminology in other professions? One suggestion I've heard is to say one is "culturally congruent." However, to me that phrase seems to have the same kind of dichotomy.


Bob Hale said...

Can you give us an idea of what you mean by "culturally competent". I've never heard the term before.

Kalleh said...

Bob, "culturally competent" means that you understand another's culture and, as a nurse, you are prepared to meet the needs of those from another culture. Often students are naive and think that they don't have a culture...that's just for others (especially those with differently colored skin or those who are from other countries). I suspect Europeans have an easier time with cultural competence than Americans do.