Skip to main content

How Culture Impacts Care: What Nurses Need to Know

Understanding and providing culturally appropriate care is essential for improving healthcare outcomes in today’s diverse healthcare landscape. Closing the gap between different cultures and healthcare practices requires harnessing cultural competence within nursing practice. Cultural competence involves respecting and valuing individuals’ beliefs, customs and traditions, enabling healthcare professionals to deliver patient-centered care effectively.

By embracing cultural competence, nurses can overcome language barriers, enhance communication, build trust with patients and their families and ensure that care plans meet individual needs. Graduates of the Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) online program through Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) gain the skills needed to implement culturally competent care in nursing.

Understanding Cultural Competence in Nursing Practice: Addressing Healthcare Disparities

The impact of cultural competence in nursing practice extends beyond simply providing culturally appropriate care. It plays a crucial role in addressing healthcare disparities among diverse populations. Culturally competent nurses possess the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to understand and respect different cultures’ beliefs, values and practices.

Nurses can effectively address healthcare disparities by fostering effective communication and building trust with patients from various backgrounds. This includes ensuring equal access to quality care, improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs associated with preventable complications or misunderstandings due to cultural differences.

Enhancing Health Literacy: A Key Component of Culturally Appropriate Care

 Enhancing health literacy is crucial in providing culturally appropriate care within nursing practice. Health literacy is an individual’s ability to understand and effectively utilize healthcare information and services. Language barriers, differing beliefs and limited access to healthcare resources can significantly impact health literacy levels in diverse cultural settings. Socioeconomic factors — such as having access to fewer resources, lower education levels, being a racial minorities or immigrants or non-English speaker — often lead to limited health literacy and an increased risk of experiencing health disparities.

Nurses play a vital role in bridging this gap by employing culturally sensitive communication strategies, such as using plain language and visual aids, to ensure information is understandable and relevant for patients from various backgrounds.

Respecting Traditional Healing and Religious Practices in Nursing: Promoting Patient-Centered Care

In nursing practice, it is crucial to acknowledge and respect traditional healing practices to promote patient-centered care. Culturally appropriate care recognizes the importance of incorporating patients’ beliefs, values and traditions into their healthcare experience. Nurses can create a more inclusive and holistic approach to patient care by understanding and valuing alternative methods such as herbal remedies, spiritual rituals or ancestral traditions that patients may rely on for their well-being. This fosters a trusting relationship with patients while enhancing their healthcare outcomes.

Religion and spirituality significantly influence the medical choices of many patients. Healthcare providers should respect a patient’s religious and spiritual beliefs. Many patients relieve their anxieties by turning to their faith when facing healthcare difficulties. Many patients rely on their beliefs when making tough healthcare choices, so healthcare professionals must acknowledge and cater to these religious and spiritual needs. Health practitioners should offer a chance for patients to talk about their religious and spiritual convictions and customize their assessment and treatment to align with their needs.

Ethical Considerations in Culturally Appropriate Nursing Practice

Nurses are obligated to provide high-quality care to all patients. Ethical considerations in culturally appropriate nursing practice encompass the principles of respect, autonomy, beneficence and non-maleficence. Nurses must recognize and honor cultural diversity while providing care that aligns with patients’ values, beliefs and practices.

This means nurses should respect patients’ autonomy by involving them in decision-making and tailor care plans to everyone’s needs. Nurses are tasked with providing the best care and advocating and intervening for any practice that puts a patient at risk for harm.

The Role of Cultural Competence in Reducing Healthcare Disparities

The role of cultural competence in reducing healthcare disparities is crucial in ensuring equitable and effective care for all individuals. To achieve this, healthcare providers must understand and respect diverse cultural groups’ beliefs, values and practices. By fostering cultural competence within nursing practice, healthcare professionals can bridge the gap between patients from different backgrounds and healthcare systems. This can be achieved through educational programs and training to enhance healthcare students’ and providers’ cultural awareness and behavior.

Appropriate training will enable them to provide culturally appropriate care that addresses everyone’s unique needs and preferences. By understanding the influence of culture on health behaviors, perceptions of illness and treatment decisions, nurses can enhance patient outcomes, promote trust and reduce healthcare disparities that may arise due to cultural differences. 

Students in Texas A&M International University’s RN to BSN online program explore how cultural and religious customs and beliefs can impact an individual’s well-being and health outcomes, be more mindful of how cultural differences influence health and learn the skills to adapt to patients’ unique needs.

Learn more about Texas A&M International University’s online RN to BSN program.

Related Articles

Need More Information?

Submit this form, and an Enrollment Specialist will contact you to answer your questions.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Or call 844-872-8712

Ready to Begin?

Start your application today!

or call 844-872-8712 844-872-8712

for help with any questions you may have.