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How to Improve Cultural Competence in Healthcare – 7 Tips

By: Erich TollBlogs
3:000 Comments
How To Improve Cultural Competence In Healthcare

Diversity is a factor in every part of our society, and every workplace. But perhaps more than any other business, diversity impacts healthcare. First, not everyone needs every product. But everyone needs healthcare, whether white or of color, US-born or immigrant, English-speaking or not, straight or LGBTQ+, etc.

I am grateful to be partnered with a healthcare professional, Kelly. And she will tell you that for many healthcare customers, a visit to an urgent care or hospital might be one of the most intense days of their life – or perhaps their last. And thus religion is more likely to come into play, whether Christian, Jew, Muslim or atheist.

These factors highlight the importance of cultural diversity in healthcare. Perhaps more than any other industry, healthcare needs diversity training in the workplace.

Cultural Competency Training in Healthcare

A diversity awareness training program for health professionals has a clear objective. The goal is to provide the same standard of care to everyone,  regardless of religion, culture, language, gender identity and more. To do so, you must give your staff the tools they need to understand, effectively communicate, and interact with people across all cultures.

Let’s explore the key steps your healthcare organization can take on how to improve cultural competence in healthcare. Your staff should be educated, armed with resources, and have daily practices that foster a more culturally competent work environment.

Assess your team: Collect REAL (race, ethnicity, and language preference) information from your team to start a plan to include all team members and provide a work environment that fits their needs.

Cultural competence in healthcare training enables staff to be culturally competent. They’re also better prepared to understand the unique needs of other cultures. Through online diversity training, your healthcare professionals can learn and grow the appropriate skills. Other powerful tools include diversity training videos, and live diversity training services.

Evaluate current programs: If you already have diversity training in place, evaluate how effective your current training programs are for your medical staff. If you see gaps in the training, it may be time to look at a custom training. With a custom plan, you can focus on areas where your staff needs help, while celebrating the triumphs your organization has made to become more culturally competent.

Cultural Competence in Healthcare Examples

Dietary considerations: Healthcare staff should be trained in the dietary and religious needs of their patients. Many cultures have special dietary considerations that should be noted. For example, ensure your staff doesn’t offer pork or shellfish to Jewish for Muslim patients.

Religious considerations: If your workplace offers a chaplain, consider adding a rabbi, imam, and spiritual counselors of other religious affiliations to your on-call staff. Have the appropriate type of religious leader available for patients in crisis, and for your staff.

Prayer facilities: Many healthcare facilities are replacing chapels with inter-faith worship spaces to serve the needs of more religious preferences. A non-denominational prayer and meditation room can serve as an inclusive sacred space for staff and patients of all religious backgrounds.

How to Improve Cultural Competence in Healthcare: Daily Practice

Daily practice: Management needs to take an active role in daily building of an accepting and culturally competent workplace setting. Every day presents opportunities for growth, and your management team needs to understand how to teach cultural competence in healthcare.

Diversity calendar: cultural competency training in healthcare includes giving your management team the the tools they need for daily inclusion. A diversity calendar is essential for management and staff for both respectful scheduling and diversity celebrations.

Respectful scheduling: When your management staff is empowered with a diversity calendar, they’re able to respect the scheduling needs of all staff based on their culture. For example, your teams will know not to schedule Jewish healthcare team members during key holiday such as Passover or Rosh Hashanah.

Heritage celebrations: Celebrate the differences between your staff and patients by celebrating heritage. By following a diversity calendar, your staff can plan culturally appropriate celebrations for Black History Month, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and other inter-faith and religious celebrations.

To discover more, learn about the 5 key benefits of diversity training in the workplace


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