Cultural Competence Among Italian Nurses: A Multicentric Survey

Giancarlo Cicolini, Carlo Della Pelle, Dania Comparcini, Marco Tomietto, Francesca Cerratti, Stephanie M Schim, Pamela Di Giovanni, Valentina Simonetti
Journal of Nursing Scholarship 2015, 47 (6): 536-43

PURPOSE: To assess Italian nurses' cultural competence, as they are increasingly called upon to care for people of foreign origins.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional, multicentric study.

METHODS: From September 2013 to May 2014, a survey was carried out among Italian nurses. Cultural competence was assessed by the Cultural Competence Assessment tool, translated and adapted to the Italian context.

FINDINGS: Nurses who completed the survey numbered 1,432; 70.6% were female; 42.6% ranged in age from 41 to 50 years; and 50.0% were bachelor's prepared. More than 50% had participated in some kind of cultural diversity training. Overall, cultural competence was moderate, showing a moderately high level of cultural awareness and sensitivity (mean = 5.41; SD = 0.66) and a moderate level of culturally competent behaviors (mean = 4.33; SD = 1.10).

CONCLUSIONS: Although Italian nurses' cultural competence was acceptable, given the growing diversity of the patient population, nurses should be better prepared to face the changing health requests.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Providing culturally competent care has been associated with improved provider-client communication, higher satisfaction with care, and health status improvement, as full comprehension of health status, adherence to medications and lifestyle recommendations, and appropriate utilization of the health system. Healthcare providers need to be adequately trained to provide culturally competent care. This research provides, for the first time, a report on Italian nurses' levels of cultural competence, and strengthens the current literature underlining the need for continuous education to enhance cultural competence among nurses.

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