Culturally Competent Service Culturally Competent Service Culturally Competent Service Background The population growth of the United States is constantly changing. In 2007, there were almost 38 million immigrants in the United States (Wikipedia, 2011) who contributed to the colorful culture of the country…
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Most often, patients hesitate to visit a doctor because of economic reason, fear from intimidation of their held health beliefs, values, and culture, distance from the clinic, and language barrier. This scenario challenges the health care system in particular on the role of nurses and doctors who act as the front liners in the delivery of care. Cultural competence had been introduced within the health care system years ago however its core concept seems to be elusive among the health care workers. Reason might be their inadequacy of exposure to the minority groups who are in most cases cannot avail of decent health care. Cultural competence is defined based on the concept of the health belief model, Purnell, and multicultural models. The health belief model postulates that health behavior depends on the influence of the patient’s perception on the seriousness of their health problems. With this, purnell model proposes that nurses must consider the health and disease perception of the patient to adapt care that is in congruent with their culture. The multicultural understanding model also suggests that nurses must possess a greater understanding, appreciation, and sensitivity of the patient’s values, beliefs and culture because they all play a critical role in the delivery of a culturally competent service. Along this line, defining cultural competence is the ability of the nurse to acquire the right attitude, knowledge, and skills necessary to provide a meaningful and quality health care to diverse population. Presentation of Literature Review Health disparities are observable in almost all illnesses among minorities in the United States surrounding the delivery of healthcare. However, it is most pronounced in chronic diseases like cancer. Cervical and breast cancers are among the diseases afflicting the minority groups in this country. Although these diseases are preventable, incidences of cervical cancer among African American women seems to rock their population with a percentage of 12. 4 per 100,000 which is slightly lower with that of the Hispanic American population (www.cureresearch.com). The reason for this trend points to a disparity in detection of the illness and access to treatment. Although, measures to detect the disease early are available in almost all group of population in the United States, it could hardly be accessed by minority groups who are economically disadvantaged. The failure to seek for Pap test is indicated as the factor for the development of cervical cancer among African American women living in poor areas of the State. It was found out that more than 50% African American women did not have Pap smear for 3 years before they are diagnosed to have cervical cancer. When they are diagnosed, it is already in the advance stage thus having higher mortality rate than white Americans (Hicks et al, 2006). The study of Coker and group (2008) reveals almost similar findings where they also explained in their study that black Americans are diagnosed when their illness is in stage 3 or 4 where treatment could be difficult and at times hopeless. Coker and group further presented that black American women who receive treatment includes cheaper chemotherapy and radiation and is less likely to undergo surgery than their white counterparts. This is despite in
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