Cultural competency and nursing care: an Australian perspective

L Chenowethm, Y-H Jeon, M Goff, C Burke
International Nursing Review 2006, 53 (1): 34-40

AIMS: To propose a process that will facilitate cultural competence in Australian nursing practice.

BACKGROUND: Cultural diversity is a prominent feature of the Australian health system and is impacting significantly on nursing care quality. A fictitious, but typical clinical exemplar is profiled that identifies cultural insensitivity in care practices leading to poor quality outcomes for the health consumer and her family. Strategies are proposed that will reverse this practice and promote culturally competent nursing care and that locates overseas qualified nurses in this process.

CONCLUSION: This paper contributes to nursing care quality internationally by articulating strategies to achieve cultural competence in practice. Nurses must pay attention to interpersonal relationships and develop respect for the health consumer's value systems and ways of being, in order to protect their rights and avoid the tendency to stereotype individuals from particular cultures. The expertise of qualified nurses from different cultures can greatly assist this process.

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