Cultural and diversity awareness in health care assessment

Cultural and diversity awareness in health care assessment

Cultural and diversity awareness in health care assessment

Health practitioners attend to people of diverse cultures and backgrounds. Patients hold different values and beliefs. Cultural competence is the ability of the health institutions and practitioners to provide healthcare that is congruent with patient values and beliefs. It plays a significant role in promoting quality health care.

A health practitioner should create a rapport with the patient for easy interaction. They should show respect, humility, and empathy. Such attitudes enable patients to open up and confide in the doctor. During an assessment, the practitioner should access how the patient perceives health care.

Several factors hinder efficient and proper healthcare. Illiteracy, discrimination, communication and language barriers are some of these factors. Patients are majorly discriminated based on their race. Research shows that minorities in America, particularly, black Americans suffer more from chronic conditions such as asthma, depression, and diabetes. These conditions are expensive to manage.

The language barrier is also a major concern in health assessment. Research shows that Spanish speaking Latinos are less satisfied with health care offered in America because of the language barrier. Whites seek medical care more compared to the Spanish speaking Latinos. There is a need for interpreters during interaction with patients. Lack of interpreters causes mistrust. It can lead to improper diagnosis and incorrect treatment.

Illiteracy is also a concern in health care. Literate people seek medical care more than illiterate people. Illiterate people have issues with reading instructions and following prescriptions. They are also not able to express themselves well and clearly describe their condition. Illiteracy hinders them from accessing high-quality health services.

Various organizations have come up with guidelines to promote cultural competence in health care. Medical schools are also educating health practitioners on how to offer health care that is congruent with the patient’s beliefs and values. The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine has a set of guidelines for promoting cultural competence. They stress the need for health practitioners to be tolerant and respectful to different cultures, health institutions to set up medical facilities in areas where minority groups can access them and a war against discrimination and racism in health facilities.

Health practitioners need to be conversant with the values and beliefs of their patients. They should establish a rapport with the patient to enable patients to open up about their beliefs during the health assessment. Cultural competence is essential in health care. It not only promotes the quality of health but also ensure patient satisfaction.


Burchum, J. L. R. (2002, October). Cultural competence: An evolutionary perspective. In Nursing Forum (Vol. 37, No. 4, p. 5). Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Majumdar, B., Browne, G., Roberts, J., & Carpio, B. (2004). Effects of cultural sensitivity training on health care provider attitudes and patient outcomes. Journal of Nursing Scholarship36(2), 161-166.

Campinha-Bacote, J. (1999). A model and instrument for addressing cultural competence in health care. Journal of Nursing Education38(5), 203-207.

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