The concept of cultural competency in nursing refers to the awareness of traditions and peculiarities of patients cultures, understanding of their values, and respect to their beliefs and views even if they differ from ones of a nurse. According to Sharifi, Adib-Hajbaghery, and Najafi (2019), cultural competency consists of “cultural awareness, cultural knowledge, cultural sensitivity, cultural skill, cultural proficiency, and dynamicity” (p. 3). Nurses should necessarily be culturally competent because it strongly affects the quality of the services provided to the patients and the efficiency of the treatment.
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Cultural competency and diversity are closely related to the concept of patient and family-centered care. A culturally competent nurse will take the views and beliefs of a patient and his or her family to create a suitable treatment plan. For example, for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, blood transfusion is forbidden, and, therefore, medical personnel should search for other ways to help patients that represent this community.
One of the examples that prove the importance of cultural competency in nursing practice is illustrated by the case of the Muslim woman. Under Islamic laws, women are prohibited from being seen by males who are not family members. The strictness of these rules depends on whether a person belongs to Shias or Sunnis. However, if a female patient needs to show a part of the body covered by her clothes, she could be observed only by a female physician. In my practice, a Muslim woman refused to accept help from a male doctor because this contradicts the principles proclaimed by her religion. However, to tackle this situation, the doctor asked a female nurse to help him to perform the needed medical procedure.
Sharifi, N., Adib-Hajbaghery, M., & Najafi, M. (2019). Cultural competence in nursing: A concept analysis. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 99, 1-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2019.103386 0020-7489