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Cultural competence and ethical decision-making represent two important concepts in nursing. Cultural competence among health care professionals prepares them for their role in meeting the needs of patients from different cultural backgrounds. Healthcare professionals who exhibit cultural competence pay close attention to the individual needs, preferences, value systems, and languages of patients (Louw, 2016). For this reason, the development of cultural competence involves acquiring skills that empower healthcare professionals to meet the needs of a diverse range of patients. Cultural competence fosters the recognition that patients from different ethnic groups, cultures, and those holding different belief systems and values all deserve quality health care services (Kaihlanen, Hietapakka, & Heponiemi, 2019). Demonstrating cultural competence requires the demonstration that a healthcare professional can recognize the cultural perspectives of the patient and deliver the care that conforms to those perspectives. On the other hand, ethical decision making involves the application of various ethical principles, belief systems, as well as moral and legal standards when making decisions. Ethical decision making also involves a clear demonstration of ethical sensitivity, judgment, and ethically just decisions. The process of ethical decision making requires a critical approach of analyzing individual mandate as well as the consequences of different actions. The combination of these concepts has the potential to improve patient satisfaction.
The interconnection between cultural competence and ethical decision-making is evident in different contexts. Specifically, the interrelatedness between the two concepts and their impact on the care delivered is beginning to receive a significant level of attention. The interrelatedness is evident in three varied contexts that govern the nursing profession. The cultural competence framework recognizes multiculturalism and its implications for the delivery of care (Louw, 2016). The healthcare professional must exhibit self-awareness as a precondition for developing cultural competence. If nurses successfully develop recognition of cultural competence as an important nursing concept, they will deliver culturally competent care and register positive client, patient, as well as family outcomes. Healthcare providers need to demonstrate cultural awareness as an important aspect that reduces cultural biases, prejudice, and assumptions (Kaihlanen et al., 2019). Cultural awareness revolves around adequate cultural knowledge that helps in discrediting unnecessary stereotypes and biases.
The development of cultural competence requires facilitation through training. The design and implementation of training programs that seek to promote cultural competence should have its basis on the specific needs of the healthcare providers. Effective training can enhance the cultural knowledge and skills of healthcare providers and prepare them for their role in delivering culturally competent care (Louw, 2016). Training on cultural competence brings into context the value of ethical decision making. As a result, these training programs place emphasis on both cultural competence and ethical decision-making. The facilitators of the training programs should pay attention to both of these concepts in a bid to ensure that healthcare workers recognize the interconnectedness. The assessment of the development of cultural competence is of critical importance because it helps in ascertaining that health care providers have acquired the relevant cultural knowledge and awareness (Kaihlanen et al., 2019). Over time, the assessment of cultural competence may help in identifying areas that need more emphasis.
In the higher education context, cultural competence, and ethical decision-making appear as important components of the curriculum. The level of globalization in the education sector reveals the need for teaching cultural competence and empowering healthcare workers to exhibit relevance in the global context (Louw, 2016). Similarly, ethical decision-making also receives attention in the higher education context. Students in higher education institutions represent important members of the global population. As a result, learning cultural competence and gaining expertise in ethical decision-making enhances their ability to meet the needs of a diverse population (Kaihlanen et al., 2019). The internationalization of curriculums also contributes significantly to the need for teaching cultural competence in higher education classrooms. Over time, the learning process demonstrates the interconnectedness between the two concepts.
Cultural competence and ethical decision-making have also become points of reference in modern day research. Researchers, who exhibit cultural competence, pay closer attention to the impact of research findings on different populations (Louw, 2016). It becomes easier to address the needs of such populations due to the expanded cultural awareness. On the other hand, ethical decision-making remains relevant in research because researchers have to comply with the rules, standards, and regulations that characterize research processes. Within the clinical contexts, cultural competence and ethical decision making still remain interrelated. Healthcare workers who can demonstrate cultural competence are in a better position to deliver quality care to patients (Kaihlanen et al., 2019). Evidence-based practice pays attention to the importance of cultural competence and ethical decision making as health care providers handle different clinical situations.
In conclusion, cultural competence and ethical decision-making are important concepts that foster the abilities of health care workers in meeting diverse patient needs. The emphasis on these concepts helps in highlighting their interrelatedness and their noted significance in research, the clinical context, higher education, as well as training programs. These concepts require healthcare providers to understand patient preferences and interests that are likely to determine the kind of care needed. The implementation of these concepts registers positive outcomes among patients and families.
Kaihlanen, A. M., Hietapakka, L., & Heponiemi, T. (2019). Increasing cultural awareness: Qualitative study of nurses’ perceptions about cultural competence training. BMC Nursing, 18(1), 38. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12912-019-0363-x
Louw, B. (2016). Cultural Competence and Ethical Decision Making for Health Care Professionals. Humanities and Social Sciences, 4(2), 41. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.hss.s.2016040201.17