Cultural Competence and Intercultural Communication

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When individuals or groups from different cultures communicate, this process is called intercultural communication. The transaction process of listening and responding to people from different cultural backgrounds can be challenging. The greater the difference in culture between two people, the greater the potential of misunderstanding and mistrust. Misunderstanding and miscommunication occur between people from different cultures because of different coding rules and cultural norms, which play a major role in shaping the patterns of interaction (Jandt, 2012). When one encounters a culture that has little in common with own, one may experience culture shock. This is a sense of confusion, anxiety, stress and loss one may experience. One of the barriers in effective intercultural communication is ethnocentrism. It stems from a conviction that one’s own cultural traditions and assumptions are superior to those of others. It leads to a tendency to look the world primarily from the perspective of one's own culture. It is one of the fastest ways to create a barrier that inhibits, rather than enhances communication (Jandt, 2012). In the United States today, a nurse is more likely to encounter patients who speak a language that is different from their own. This kind of intercultural difference poses a formidable communication challenge, as one’s ability to communicate will depend on whether one can understand one another's verbal and nonverbal codes (Jandt, 2012). Miller, Leininger, Leuning, Pacquiao, Andrews, and Ludwig-Beyer, (2008) support that the skill of cultural competency in nursing is the ability to gather relevant cultural data on the presenting problem of the patient. This cultural assessment is defined as a "... ... middle of paper ... ... (2003). Unequal treatment: Confronting racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Taylor, Elizabeth Johnson. (2001) Spiritual Care: Nursing Theory, Research and Practice, Prentice Hall. pp. 197-205 Tomasello, M. (2009). The cultural origins of human cognition. Harvard University Press. Singleton, K., & Krause, E. (2009). Understanding cultural and linguistic barriers to health literacy. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 14(3). United Nations. (2008). Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Dignity and Justice for All of Us. Accessed on October 29, 2010. From: Young, C., & Koopsen, C. (2010). Spirituality, health, and healing: An integrative approach. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
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