Staff Cultural Competence

What does it mean to be culturally competent? Culture envelops and surrounds us. Culture includes elements that we can see, such as age, gender, race, religious traditions, and style of dress. It also includes the influences that are unseen, such as education, socioeconomic status, beliefs about personal space, thoughts about time, and many others. Culture competence is about building skills that promote the understanding and value of different cultures. It is about opening our eyes to similarities and acknowledging and appreciating differences. Respect and trust are two building blocks to cultural competency. Without being conscious of it, staff in all kinds of workplaces interact in cross-cultural communications on a daily basis. Cultural competence is an important skill for staff to be able to provide quality interactions to patients, clients, and/or customers.

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Action Steps

Encourage staff to reflect on their own cultural competence.

Provide support and training to staff engaged in their own cultural competency journey.

Promote an environment that promotes cultural desire, an interest in learning about diverse cultures.

Caminha-Bacote, J., (1999) A model and instrument for addressing cultural competence in health care, Journal of Nursing Education. 38(5) 203-207.

Beach, M.C., Price, E.G., Gary, T.L., Robinson, K.A., Gozu, A., Palacio, A, Smarth, C, Jenckes, M.W., Feuerstein, C., Bass, E.B, Powe, N.R., & Cooper, L.A. (2005) Cultural competency: a systematic review of health care provider educational interventions. Medical Care. 43(4) 356-373.

Betancourt, J. R., Green, A. R., Carrillo, J. E., & Owusu Ananeh-Firempong, I. I. (2016). Defining cultural competence: a practical framework for addressing racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care. Public health reports.


Leaders throughout the organization can act as change agents, moving the organization to become more culturally effective. What can leaders do?

Policies and Procedures

Written policies and procedures provide documentation of an organizations commitment to equity. What policies promote equity?

Data Collection and Analysis

Data provides the foundation for decision-making and evaluation. How can data help in strategic planning?

Community Engagement

Building relationships with the community contributes to connectedness and sharing feedback. How can you create an environment to share knowledge?

Language and Communication Access

Communication is key to quality patient care. What are strategies to enhance cross cultural communication?

Staff Cultural Competence

Staff interact with patients to promote good health outcomes. How can you promote the cultural competency of your workforce?

Workforce Diversity and Inclusion

Organizations want to attract a highly skilled workforce from diverse backgrounds. What are strategies that promote workforce diversity?

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