Cultural Sensitivity and Diversity

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Acknowledging the differences in culture in a clinical setting a fairly new concept. As recent as the 1980s ideas like cultural sensitivity were not discussed.

In 198***, ***

Thirty years later we have made definite strides in our attempts create a culturally competent profession

Culture is defined as the shared traditions, beliefs, customs, history, folklore, and institutions of a group of people (***).None of us can escape that we develop as part of a specific culture. The culture or environment we were raised in determines how we relate to ourselves and the rules for interacting with others. These rules are passed down from one generation to the next and create a mindset that is largely unconscious. Consequently, becoming aware of cultural differences often requires a conscious choice on our part to learn and expand our knowledge of ourselves and others.
Cultural diversity and related terms have evolved over the last thirty years. Response to culture can be defined in a spectrum of cultural response from cultural awareness, through cultural sensitivity and cultural humility, to cultural competence. The meaning for these words is assigned by the corresponding progression along that spectrum.
Cultural awareness is the observation that there are differences among different people, groups, or societies based on dissimilar histories, values, beliefs, and behaviors.

As cultural awareness evolves a cultural sensitivity or understanding develops. It becomes more obvious that there are practices within persons or systems that do not recognize the need for culturally specific practices in healthcare.
"Cultural sensitivity" is knowing that differences exist between cultures, but not assigning values to the differences (be...

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...ake it possible for communication between cultures at all levels of ***
When you recognize, respect, and value all cultures and integrate those values into the personal and organizational, and global healthcare systems, culturally competent healthcare will be provided to meet the needs of diverse groups.

In conclusion, cultural diversity is reality. I had the fortune of being a nurse during the transition to a culturally aware profession. I was able to observe the acknowledgement of patients, who in the past, had to contend with culturally insensitive care finally receive culturally competent care.
Creating cultural competency means changing how people think, the way they communicate, and their basic responses to cultural issues. It is essential that we continue to broaden our awareness and make choices that reflect our knowledge and respect of all diversity.
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