America’s immigrant population
America’s immigrant population makes up 12.5 percent of the total population, lending itself to a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society (Edelman, Kudzma, & Mandle, 2014). Living, working, teaching, nursing in a country rich in diversity requires people to understand one another. To understand one another we must get to know one another. Culture influences health decisions, how a person learns, their actions and their expectations.
In nursing, cultural competence is crucial. Nurses interact with many different cultures daily including patients, families, and colleagues. Having knowledge of, respecting, and understanding cultural differences benefits everyone involved and is key to providing excellent patient care. Awareness of our own culture and how it influences our practice is also important. Cultural competence empowers the nurse to care for multi-cultural patients effectively. According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), cultural competence is a necessary skill set to provide effective patient care (American Nurses Association, 2011). Another source says cultural competence is key to eliminating health disparities (Edelman et al., 2014)
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