7 Traits Of Culturally Competent Healthcare Professionals

7 Traits Of Culturally Competent Healthcare Professionals

Work, quality of living, and access to top-notch healthcare are all said to be social determinants of health. However, things aren’t the same for everyone. It turns out that there are major health disparities affecting patients and medical personnel that provide a significant challenge to the medical community. Despite this, one considerable weapon may be used to combat gaps in the workplace – cultural competency.

Culturally competent healthcare providers confront the differences that people of various races and cultures face on a regular basis. It’s a tool for adequately understanding and interacting with people from multiple cultures. So, what’s the big deal here?

The Importance Of Cultural Competence In The Healthcare Industry

To begin with, international migration is a global issue that poses a challenge to healthcare providers in terms of providing culturally competent care. The demographics of people at risk for diseases seem to appear to be becoming more diverse. What complicates matters is that access to healthcare varies by race and ethnic origin. In addition, language and communication limitations are a concern.

All of these are reasons why health providers should be culturally competent. This is why numerous methods are being undertaken to train healthcare professionals in providing effective, high-quality care to patients with a range of views, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. 

Among their approaches include implementing diversity training, committing to expand their knowledge about culture, and, of course, getting familiar with the traits of a culturally competent healthcare professional.

Character Traits Of A Healthcare Professional With Cultural Competence

In the realm of medicine, cultural competency is essential. Nurses, for example, serve as patient advocates. A lack of understanding – whether due to a cultural or linguistic barrier – can have a substantial impact on their capacity to care for a patient efficiently.

That said, here are eight traits of a culturally competent healthcare professional.

  1. A Humble Learner

Not everyone has a natural capability to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds. Nonetheless, culturally competent healthcare provider recognizes that they’re continually learning and are constantly striving to improve. Aside from that, they’re open to new experiences and willing to own up to their mistakes while critically reflecting on them.

  1. Courageous

Culturally competent healthcare providers are courageous. In other words, they don’t have self-centered motives like wanting to be liked by everyone or not wanting to make any mistakes at all. They are capable of making executive decisions based on their personal convictions. Aside from that, they engage in spirited debates about racism and privilege.

  1. Transparent

Culturally competent healthcare workers are usually capable of communicating with everybody. This communication covers what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and how it connects to their goal and vision, for instance.

  1. Inclusive

Being a culturally competent healthcare provider entails involving others in decision-making. This is because the more diversified their ideas, the more probable it is that they’ll meet the demands of their patients or coworkers. Apart from that, they’re prepared to give others the opportunity to lead discussions. 

  1. Enthusiastic

Culturally competent healthcare professionals know how to invigorate others around their work. They pique people’s interest in the possibilities and foster an environment in which people are willing to be a part of something. They maintain a positive outlook on the possibilities without becoming naive. Besides that, they emphasize applauding accomplishments and providing motivation than humiliating or criticizing.

  1. Realistic

While culturally competent healthcare workers are enthusiastic about almost everything, they also understand that things take time. For instance, when they’re assigned to work in a completely different environment and culture, they prefer to take in things gradually rather than abruptly. For them, change takes time. That’s why they don’t attempt to accomplish everything at once. Rather, they maintain a long-term commitment and don’t give up easily.

  1. Sensitive

Last but not least, culturally competent healthcare workers are sensitive. For instance, if they inherit the past of their team or company in terms of institutional racism, they don’t seek to dismiss or reject those experiences by adopting a ‘new day’ mentality. Rather than that, they approach their work through a prism of comprehension.

Each day, they approach their work with a historical perspective, not a blank slate mindset. With Such awareness, they can recognize and change their response to challenges that touch on former relationships or identities. So, as a result, they understand when a technical solution is necessary.

Final Thoughts

Being a part of the healthcare industry entails different standards including cultural competence. Culturally competent healthcare professionals value diverse cultural methods of learning, perceiving, and living, value the advantages of diversity, and are able to comprehend and respect differences. In other words, it’s a never-ending pursuit of reflection and understanding how individuals view the world and engage in many knowledge systems.

If you’re learning how to be a culturally competent healthcare professional, which of the attributes stated above do you think you possess?



Anna Daniels

Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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