Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Cultural Competence in Nursing Education Revisited

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Cultural Competence in Nursing Education Revisited

Article excerpt

AS NURSE EDUCATORS, none of us needs reminding of the importance of understanding culture and its influence on both patient and student learning. We are all aware of the changing demographics in our classrooms and in clinical practice. Yet, the International Council of Nurses has recently published a draft position statement on cultural and linguistic competence that deserves our attention, especially as our knowledge, education, and practice developments are no longer isolated, but, rather, are part of a global nursing initiative. (VISIT WWW.ICN.ORG.CH.)

Global migration among nurses, and the population at large, makes it imperative that nursing education programs include attention to cultural aspects of care and care delivery. The ethnic diversity of patient populations is changing rapidly and transforming the care that is required. As nurse educators, we are often challenged by these changes, even as we acknowledge the importance of cultural competence in the curriculum.

To integrate these concepts into the program and to ensure that integration is comprehensive, it may be necessary for nurse educators to have continuing education in cultural competence. It is not sufficient to have one course in cultural competence, or to address cultural competence only when confronted with a patient from another culture. Many clinical faculty, in particular, may not have been exposed to the recent focus on cultural competence in nursing education as their focus in their graduate education would have been primarily on the improvement of their clinical skills.

Nurses must also be prepared to adapt to work across international boundaries in different health care systems and with different client groups. It is becoming more common that students have opportunities for international clinical experiences, whether as part of the basic program, or as electives. While the choice to enrich their educational experience is often left to students, many graduates will assume positions that require them to work with other cultures.

While international student exchange programs provide a valuable resource for learning about other cultures, virtual cross-cultural exchange programs can also be established across national boundaries. …

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