Importance of Cultural Competence in the Healthcare Sector
The healthcare sector has become increasingly diverse. People from different communities with different heritages are turning the wheels of the sector. When a society comes together in harmony to pool resources, it changes the picture. With more resources and skills on deck, we see more positive outcomes. The healthcare system eventually comes to a point where delivering quality care is no longer an issue.
Diversity helps society thrive. When nations come together to pool their resources, it helps healthcare providers and policymakers to bring profound change. However, it is essential to understand what we mean by social diversity. An organization is seen as culturally diverse if it can meet social, cultural, and linguistic needs. When patients get treated, they don’t fear unfair bias or discrimination because of their ethnicity. It is also essential to see why cultural competence has become a crucial factor for the healthcare sector. Here’s all that you need to know:
1. Ethnic Minorities Have more Chronic Illnesses
In a nutshell, cultural competence in healthcare is a skill that includes an understanding of how the social, emotional, and cognitive aspects all play in the relationships among health professionals. It helps providers understand their patients’ beliefs and values and address potential biases to ensure they provide culturally competent care for every patient.
At times, their economic status limits ethnic minorities. Since they live in mediocre neighborhoods with more junk food than healthy food, it shows. Economic disparity is a leading cause in many of these communities contracting chronic illnesses faster. When they can’t afford expensive organic meals, they will choose processed food.
2. It Brings About Empathy
Medical professionals need to be as empathetic as possible. With a diverse workforce attending to various patients, this culture gets cultivated. If you’re used to treating one type of patient with the same background, it may be hard for you to relate to a patient. When patients don’t feel seen or heard, they don’t feel comfortable talking about the full extent of their problems. In some communities, they may be more susceptible to a particular type of disease than the rest. Unless you’re willing to learn about different neighborhoods and their health problems, you’ll struggle to help them. Your coworkers can help you there. They can make you understand why specific communities need more attention than the rest.
3. Brings About A Multilingual Proficiency
Medical professionals should know at least more than one language. Even if they know one language, there needs to be diversity in the workplace. It is because, within a society, people speak a range of languages. For some, speaking their nature tongue is more comfortable. That is because they can explain what they feel is wrong with them and know the correct terms to talk about their health. Language barriers can become dangerous. When you don’t know what your patient is asking or telling you, there is a chance you misdiagnose them. When you have coworkers who speak and understand different languages, they can take care of patients better.
4. It Brings Tolerance In The Work Environment
It is easy to get bombarded with racial stereotypes. When you don’t allow diversity into a workspace, you’re restricting tolerance. The staff quickly becomes prejudiced and harbors thoughts against certain ethnic groups. It can become dangerous if a patient who belongs to a different ethnic group ventures in for treatment. Not only will prejudiced staff neglect the patient, but they also may not want to provide quality care for the healthcare sector, which is a significant offense. Even though doctors are looking after people, they still need to work in healthier and inclusive environments. It helps them keep racial slurs, jokes, and even comments at bay. So, if you want a well-balanced environment, bring tolerance into the picture.
5. Make Hospitals More Accessible
When the healthcare staff is more diverse, more people feel confident about going to the hospital. The administration is more forthcoming in explaining different procedures to patients, even providing them with bilingual pamphlets. They can also walk a patient through various insurance policies and which one may be suitable for them. When the hospital administration knows how to help and talk to patients, they understand how to approach them. There is little misunderstanding and more acceptance. For the healthcare sector, this is important because going to a hospital is more than getting treated. Other administrative aspects need to get handled.
6. Understand Cultural Values
In some cultures, families are involved in medical decisions. While you may be used to an independent lifestyle, it is essential to understand your patients may be different. It will help you understand and accept cultural values better. You won’t hesitate to acknowledge different social norms. So if you want to talk about potential medical treatment, you can easily talk to the concerned family members. It can also make it easier to explain medical treatments to the patient. It also helps doctors to reach better health outcomes since discussions usually lead to answers. You also don’t try to isolate the patient from their families, assuming they need to get separated from deciding. It makes you understand their perspective better and even brings a positive review for your hospital.
7. Build More Hospitals In Different Communities
When the healthcare sector acknowledges that different communities live in other areas, they’re willing to study about them. Hospital directors can understand the barriers some communities have while trying to tap into healthcare. It would encourage them to build more hospitals for them with better services. In case building a hospital is not feasible, they can invest in clinics. It will help take care of the community better and even boost health outcomes. No community should feel deprived of fundamental rights because they can’t reach a hospital on time.
8. A Patient Feels Comfortable
Patient comfort is of utmost importance in a hospital. When a patient is comfortable, they’re willing to discuss their condition at length. When you’re aware of their culture and know-how, strike a conversation that makes them open up to you. Suppose you make a joke that is a famous punchline for them. You may even express how you understand that their condition can also be hereditary and help them if there is a wall between you and your patient. You may end up not looking after them properly.
9. Introduce Better Hospital Policies
In a diverse environment, it is easier to bring about better hospital policies. Hospitals may devise zero tolerance towards bigotry and racism while protecting their staff. The administration may take into account some important cultural dates and give those staff members a half day. Hospital policies may also respect and care for different patients and their cultures in the duration of their stay at the hospital. It is not unusual for hospitals to have chapels. They can look into including other religions as well.
Cultural competency in the workplace is essential. It brings about tolerance and acceptance and even helps the hospital to look after their patients better. Removing cultural and language barriers boosts a patient’s comfort level, and they’re more forthcoming with their treatment. The healthcare staff also understands better how different cultures work and how to carry a conversation with them. Finally, all of these factors help boost a more inclusive environment and reshape community health.