Example Of Cultural Competence Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Nursing, Culture, Health, Bangladesh, Nurse, Health Care, Belief, Religion

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2021/02/05


Cultural competence refers to the ability of individuals to effectively cooperate and mingle with people from diverse cultures, socio-economic levels, and ethnic groups (Campinha-Bacote, 2011).The impetus for providing culturally competent care arises from the observed disparities across different social levels, and the dynamism of the demographic composition of countries. Provision of holistic care intends to comprehensively attend to the physical, emotional, economic, social, and spiritual requirements of a patient (Wade, 2009). To achieve holistic care, a care giver must be aware of the holistic requirements of a patient, and this has called for the provision of culturally competent care. The nursing profession is affected by the dynamism the societal needs, a range of expectations from different cultures, and the development of new innovations for the nursing practice. Therefore, nurse must be prepared to handle the cultural differences, and this can be achieved through experience, academic training, or both. This paper will address cultural competence with focus on preparing for an experience working in a different country, examining personal cultural characteristics, and propose culturally competent interventions to overcome barriers that may affect the ability of a nurse provide care.

Preparation for an Experience Working in Bangladesh

Cultural competence is a skill that involves behaviors, values, and beliefs in external systems. The culture of a person, according to Kathryn (2011), affects the way that an individual perceives illnesses as well as the health of individuals. Therefore, to prepare to work in a different culture, the nurse should start by searching for information, either from primary sources or secondary sources, on the beliefs, values, norms, and behaviors of the people that they will be serving. Talking to people who have collaborated and worked in Bangladesh before will contribute positively in not only developing the right attitude towards working there, but will also help in preparing on what to expect. One must also be knowledgeable of the traditions and values that people hold. Being knowledgeable aids in establishing the epidemiology, manifestation of diseases, and effects of medication based on the ethnicity of a population. According to Campinha-Bacote (2011), different ethnic groups are affected differently by diseases and their treatments due to the difference in genes. Also, the use of medications is also affected by culture.
Knowledge of the values and traditions of the new people is not enough. It is also critical that the nurse develops the right attitude towards working with a different culture. Making assumptions about how different cultures work usually leads to mistakes, some of which can be fatal. Therefore, the nurse must establish the specific communication patterns of a community, to avoid miscommunication. According to Wade (2009), a nurse should establish a distinction between their own beliefs and values, and those of the patients being served. A nurse must also learn or develop skills that allow him/her to integrate well with the new patients. A nurse can choose to learn the language of the patients that he/she will be serving in order to facilitate effective communication. This involves both verbal and non-verbal communication.

Comparison of Ghana Culture with Bangladesh Culture

The culture of Ghanaians is greatly dependent on the specific ethnic groups. According to Lewis (2013), there are three major ethnic groups namely Akan, Ewe, and Mole-Dagbon, with numerous subgroups. The official language in Ghana is English, although it has a distinctive West African dialect. Christianity is the main religion, with a minority of Islam, and traditional religions. Religion has had an impact on the traditions of the Ghanaians into the adoption of more modern beliefs like monogamy, and family is a respected institution. Ghana had a social stratification into royalties, commoners, and slaves. However, Slavery has been abolished, although the other two strata remain (Lewis, 2013). Half of Ghana’s population lives in the urban areas, while the other half lives in the rural area, with most of them concentrating on farming. The life expectancy is 60.5, and according to Lewis (2013), 28% of Ghana’s population lives below the poverty line.
On the other hand, Bangladesh is an Asian, most populated country in the country, with 98% of the total population being Bengali, and the rest being minor ethnic groups (Bangladesh.com, 2013). The main language spoken in this country is Bengali, although dialects vary from district to district. According to Bangladesh.com (2013), the language differences are evidence to the difference in social and religious affiliations. The main religion in Bangladesh is Muslim, followed by Hinduism, and the rest being Buddhist, Christianity, and the rest of the religions. Life expectancy for Bangladeshis is 58 years, while infant mortality rates are awfully high at 75 per 1000 births, with girls being more predisposed to premature death than boys (Bangladesh.com, 2013). Bangladesh is mostly rural and it is ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world. Social stratification in Bangladesh is mostly along religious lines. Marriage is determined by the father of the girl child, when the girl is seen to be of age.
There is a clear distinction between the culture of the Bangladeshis and that of the Ghanaians, with most of it lying along religious and social stratus. Learning about the culture of the Bangladeshis involves learning about their values, e.g., family and religion, as well as understanding the social stratifications. Language is also an important skill t acquire to ensure effective communication.

Barriers to Effective Care Provision by Nurses

Barriers to effective healthcare provision can be categorized into educational, financial, and physical (Kathryn, 2011). Physical barriers interfere with the easy access of healthcare, which in turn affects the cost of healthcare. Conversely, financial barriers affect the availability of resources like hospital materials and workforce, which consequently affects the quality of care. Educational barriers affect communication and understanding levels between the patient and the caregiver (Campinha-Bacote, 2011). Miscommunication can also lead to lack of adherence to medications.
Cultural beliefs are also barriers to effective provision of care, especially if the nurse doesn’t share the same values and beliefs with the patients. However, as stipulated in the code of ethics for nurses, patients’ needs take precedence over those of the nurses. Beliefs, values, and morals are some of the sources of ethical dilemmas in the nursing profession (Kathryn, 2011). Educational levels of the patients can also be barriers to healthcare, especially in the prevention of effective communication. Bridging the communication barrier requires that the nurse learns the language of the patients that he/she is serving, or use an interpreter.

Culturally Competent Interventions to Overcome Barriers

Overcoming barriers that affect the effective provision of care is necessary in addressing the disparities in healthcare systems. Addressing the physical barriers may involve establishment of healthcare facilities in communities that have to cover a long distance in order to access care (Mandy, Paradies & Priest, 2014). Increasing the number of healthcare facilities ensures that healthcare is available to all people, irrespective of whether they live in the urban areas or the rural areas. Financial barriers can be addressed if the government sets aside more funds for healthcare use. Countries that have low reservation of healthcare expenditure per capita income experience bad health outcomes.
The culture of people affects the way they perceive health and treatments. Cultural differences present the healthcare system with major barriers because ethical issues arise from the same. For example, a culture may not recognize the usefulness of medications, even when it is clear that a patient’s life depends on the medication. Such barriers can be overcome by applying the nursing code of ethics as a guide. A nurse should also be guided by the principles of justice, non malificence, beneficence, and autonomy when addressing ethical issues arising from cultural beliefs (Mandy, Paradies & Priest, 2014).


In conclusion, providing culturally competent care is vital in ensuring that the patients receive holistic care. A nurse may be required to work in a community which has different culture and social beliefs from their own. Since the nursing profession depends on the interaction between the nurse and the patient, ethical issues are bound to arise from differences in beliefs and norms. Therefore, it is vital that a nurse recognizes barriers that may affect the effective delivery of care services to the patients, and develop interventions to counter those barriers. This paper explored the preparation that a nurse should undertake before embarking on work with people of a different culture, the barriers that may exist, as well as the interventions that can be used to counter these barriers. The paper also discussed the differences in Ghanaian and Bangladeshi cultures.


Bangladesh.com. (2013). Discover the Diverse Culture of Bangladesh. Retrieved April 8,
2015, from http://www.bangladesh.com/culture/
Campinha-Bacote, J. (2011). Delivering Patient-Centered Care in the Midst of a Cultural
Conflict: The Role of Cultural Competence. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing,
16(2), Manuscript 5
Kathryn, M. (2011). The Importance of Cultural Competence. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins,
9(2), 5
Lewis, J. C. (2013). Culture in Ghana, Africa. US Today. Retrieved from USToday
Mandy, T., Paradies, Y. & Priest, N. (2014). Interventions to Improve Cultural Competency
in Healthcare: A Systematic Review of Reviews. Bio Med Central Health Services
Research, 14(99), Manuscript 1
Wade, T. D. (2009). Holistic Healthcare: What is it and how can we Achieve it? Holistic
Health care, 1-35

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