Cultural Competence In Nursing

Executive Summary

Diversity and cultural competence in the workforce are of utmost importance not only in the field of healthcare but also in other sectors. The paper will look at the importance of diversity and a culturally competent workforce such as the growth of mutual respect, trust and reduced misunderstanding and costs in a healthcare setting. A step to step plan to recruit, hire and retain a diverse workforce is also included in this paper, outlining the major steps leaders should follow to attain the same. A diverse workforce is attainable if leaders are willing to accept change and teach others in the organization to accept the same.

The paper will further look at ways an organization can retain its diverse workforce and a plan on how it can train and develop the skill of their staff through cultural awareness. Leadership greatly affects the cultural competence of staff members. The paper proves that the cultural competent nature of the leader is what is transferred to the employee. If a leader is competent, then the staff will also be culturally competent. At the end of the paper, benefits of academic and research skills attained as a practitioner-scholar will be discussed, concluding the overall importance of a diverse and culturally competent workforce.


Cultural diversity is one of the most important aspects of today’s healthcare sector. The nursing sector in the healthcare industry is an example of how knowledge and understanding of cultural diversity are important when it comes to customer health and safety. The patient population in many countries is composed of culturally different people. Culture is defined as the norms, beliefs, and attitudes that a particular group of people has. In fact, we all have cultural diversity through our religions, ethnic differences, national origins and at times gender. It is hard for any healthcare facility opened to members of the public to offer their services to people with just one culture. These diversities are the main reason for the understanding and adoption of cultural diversity strategies in healthcare facilities, ensuring efficiency in the services offered to patients from all walks of life (Optimum Health Inc, 2017).

Cultural competence in healthcare can be defined as the ability of the healthcare provider to meet the social, cultural and linguistic needs of their patients. A diverse and competent workforce is very important to the healthcare organization they work with and to the community that they serve. A culturally competent workforce facilitates the growth of mutual respect between healthcare patients and workers. When a worker is culturally competent, they understand the beliefs and cultural practices of their patients avoiding cultural invasion which is a sign of respect. The same is reciprocated by a patient who feels they are understood by the healthcare providers. It also increases trust between the patient and the healthcare providers (Alliance Behavioral Healthcare, n.d.). Patients develop more trust in organizations they feel understand their physical, social, spiritual and cultural needs. The patients participate more in healthcare processes as they feel they also have control over their health and the treatments they get. Patients will therefore not miss appointments as they look forward to receiving treatment from an understanding institution and it also reduces medical errors that may arise due to patient’s lack of cooperation in the treatment. In light of the above, culturally competent workforce and the organizations they work for can avoid legal costs and at the same time improve patient outcome greatly. A culturally diverse workforce is a key to increasing cultural competency in a healthcare institution, increasing patient satisfaction and the quality of health care offered (Betancourt et al., 2016).

Culturally Competent and Diverse Workforce Plan

Assign a leader to carry out the task

Choose a leader is culturally competent and able to attract such talent to the organization. In most cases, the human resource manager is in charge of the recruitment process. Accountability, responsibility and leadership skills will be essential when selecting a diverse workforce (Chuang, 2013).

Get the word out

Advertise positions vacant in various places including community boards, employment agencies, newspapers, and newsletters, visual and audio media among others. The leader should ensure every channel of communication available is used to advertise job openings. If regular channels and contact of usual suspects are used, then the workforce will not be diverse. The word should get out to all members of the community.

Build relationships with cultural groups and organizations

These groups work with diverse communities and can be a source of a diverse workforce. Immigrant-serving agencies, for example, can provide information on the workforce available to perform a certain task and provide employment advice to the organization (Gilliss, Powell & Carter, 2010). Use of websites run by such organizations will enable the organization to have access to local connections to diverse talents. The organization should also embark on efforts to promote them as a viable place to work.

Develop an unbiased interview process

Interviewing can be done by one person or a panel of qualified professionals. The final decision, on which candidates to take up for the job, will be made by the program leader probably the HR manager. Biases should be eliminated when it comes to the interview as it affects the selection of new talent to the organization. Everyone involved in the hiring process should follow a set of clear and consistent guidelines, to reduce misunderstanding. Stereotyping is a common practice in the hiring process, and only one person in the organization should deal with resumes, to avoid biased omissions of some due stereotyping. The recruitment philosophy should focus on the skills one has regardless of when or how long it took to develop such skills. Subjective language should be avoided during the recruitment process as it can exclude qualified candidates without knowing the benefits they might bring to the organization (Gilliss, Powell & Carter, 2010).

Create a diverse workforce retention plan

Following all the above steps will ensure the talent recruited is culturally competent and diverse. However, the question will be on how to retain the talent in the organization. Personalizing retention plans ensure worker retention in that the organization can understand upfront why a diverse employee would stay or leave the organization. Offering incentives to the diverse workforce will increase worker retention. In light of the above, the organization should offer bonuses, stock options and raises, competitive benefit packages such as insurance and retirement benefits among others.

Implementation and Evaluation

The last part of the plan is to implement all the above and make sure that the plan is followed to the later. It will ensure hiring of a diverse workforce. Evaluation and assessment through measuring diversity, diversity turnover and the impact it has on the organization will also be very important (Gilliss, Powell & Carter, 2010).

Plan for providing employee training on cultural awareness and sensitivity

Identifying training and development need of the workforce

It is the first thing in the plan, where the leader will identify the training needs his/her workforce might have. Knowing the needs will ensure that the training program is in context and helps in employee professional development (Tomalin & Stempleski, 2013).

Recruit a professional trainer

The one offering the training should have knowledge and skill in cultural competence and be a sociable person who the employees will feel free and comfortable to interact with. He should know matters affecting the organization’s employees regarding cultural competence.

Develop what will be done during the training beforehand

Before the training, the leader should know exactly what the employees will be trained on. To improve cultural competence and skill of existing staff, training should be on:


The employees will be trained on better ways to communicate with each other, or to other people especially those who are culturally different from them. Training employees to improve the way they communicate will increase understanding and respect within the organization and between the organization and the community. The above is because employees are the face of the organization and how they communicate a great impact on the organization and community they serve (Tomalin & Stempleski, 2013).


Interpersonal Skills

Employees will be trained on how to improve skills such as self-confidence, being a team player, positive attitude, critical and creative thinking to solve problems among others.

Acceptance to change

Employees will be trained on ways to incorporate cultural competence, accept and welcome new diverse workforce and support management in search of diverse talent.

Informing employees of a training program

Inform the employees of the training program before so that they can prepare themselves psychologically, physically and mentally for the same (Delgado et al., 2013).

Benefits of a diverse and culturally competent workforce

There is a direct relationship between the communities and healthcare organizations. The communities rely on the healthcare organization for their safety and health while the organizations depending on the communities as they are the source of their existence. The two variables work hand in hand, and one cannot work without the other. A diverse workforce has benefits to both the organization and the community.

Diversity drives creativity and innovation, where leveraging the diverse differences in skills of employees allows a company to be more innovative in coming up with solutions to problems. Diversity creates a culture of respect within the organization and to the community that the workforce serves, creating peaceful coexistence and sharing of ideas without fear of rejection. Diversity also leads to employee satisfaction, reducing the rates of turnover, which is a benefit to the organization as additional legal and other costs associated with the turnover of a diverse workforce are eliminated (Irby-Butler, 2017, p. 67-68).

It also increases the market capture for the healthcare organization. Customers/patients that get services from a culturally competent and diverse workforce want to be able to always relate to the organization. Patients grow a personal relationship with the workforce and always want to be part of the team. A diverse workforce has a better knowledge of the needs of the community, and they are more engaged in community activities that help meet these needs. Diversity and cultural competence also change the way people in the community relate to each other (Carter, 2017).

Leadership and the development of a diverse and culturally- competent workforce

Leadership influences the development of a diverse and culturally competent workforce through the skills they employ when carrying out their duties. A good leader should be able to manage culturally diverse settings with ease as they have cultural quotient and intelligence. A study by Marie and Vincent showed that the competence of healthcare staff was associated with the cultural competence of the leader (Dauvrin & Lorat, 2015).

Academic skills and research

Academic and research skills developed as a practitioner-scholar helps in one’s role as a healthcare leader in the following ways: one is that the information on culturally competent leadership helps one acquire knowledge of the diversity in the healthcare system. It helps them to grow as leaders that respect and appreciate diversity regarding employees and even the clients they lead. These skills help in developing critical thinking, conflict resolution and decision making techniques one can use for effective leadership. The academic and research skills are also employed while solving matters affecting a certain community or the organization at large (Connerley & Pedersen, 2005). Leaders with academic and research skills are more credible as they are good in their communication, respectful and humble, have positive attitudes and commitment to their jobs.


Diversity is important not only to healthcare organizations but also to the community that they serve. Cultural diversity and competence promote peaceful coexistence, respect, and trust among healthcare providers and members of the community served. It also creates room for creating friendly relationships that improve the quality of healthcare services patients have, improving their health and benefiting the community in general. Leaders influence the culturally competent nature of employees. They must display a high degree of cultural competence, formulating plans to create cultural awareness and develop the professional skills and diverse nature of their workforce. A diverse workforce leads to more creativity and innovation in an organization, a sign of greater success for the organization.







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