Nurses shall use cross-cultural knowledge and culturally sensitive skills in implementing culturally congruent nursing care.
Cross-cultural practice in nursing involves a complex combination of knowledge of diverse cultural practices and worldviews, reflective self-awareness of own cultural world-view, attitudes about cultural differences, and skills in cross-cultural assessment and communications (Anderson et al.,2010; Andrews, 1992; Campinha-Bacote, 2010; Lipson, Dibble, & Minarik, 2005).
Cross-cultural practice begins with a thorough assessment of the physical, psychological, and cultural foci as the basis of planning care. Cultural assessment entails examining the sociocultural, ethical, and sociopolitical features that are uniquely situated within the health–illness continuum of diverse clients. Inherent in effective assessment are cross-cultural communication skills, used to maximize common understanding and shared meaning of the health–illness encounter of the culturally diverse client (Kreps & Kunimoto, 1994).
Competence in cross-cultural practice requires experience and continued interest in learning and in sharpening cultural assessment and communication skills. Although nurses may achieve a certain degree of competence in some diverse cultures, they cannot be totally competent in all cultures (Eubanks et al., 2010). Yet nurses are more likely to achieve culturally competent cross-cultural care when the complex combination of cultural knowledge, awareness, attitudes, and skills are used dynamically for cultural assessment of clients’ health beliefs and practices and for negotiating culturally congruent health interventions through skillful cross-cultural communication (Institute of Medicine, 2001; Kleinman, 1990; Lynch & Hanson, 1992).
Implementation of this guideline will be influenced by the level of nurses’ knowledge of client’s cultural health beliefs and practices, by their intentional reflection on their own attitudes, by their skill in cross-cultural communication (Eubanks et al., 2010; Meleis & Hattar-Pollara, 1995; World Health Organization, 2000) and by their ability to assess and implement culturally congruent care. To ensure adequate preparation of nursing students, these variables must be fully integrated throughout the nursing curriculum. To enhance nurses’ competency in cross-cultural practice, clinical institutions and health care facilities need to provide ongoing educational workshops as well as mentoring and training geared toward the continuous development of nurses’ cultural knowledge and skills for effective cross-cultural practice.