Free Essay on Cultural Diversity in Healthcare

Published: 2022-11-07
Free Essay on Cultural Diversity in Healthcare
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Medicine Nursing management Diversity
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1793 words
15 min read

Healthcare has been experiencing disparity due to discrimination and prejudice. The fact that doctors from the majority groups treat most patients has made the concept of cultural competency indispensable. Studies have documented that a healthcare provider is culturally competent when the patient is fully satisfied with the services offered. However, for the physician to accomplish this, it is crucial to make an effort to overcome language barriers and efficiently learn how to appreciate cultural differences. As such, nursing students are entitled to a program that exposes them to the appreciation of cultural diversity in their practice. For this to be attained, the theory learned in class should be backed with evidence-based practices in a healthcare setting.

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The Curriculum Gap

There are unique challenges that exist for the school of nursing especially due to a quickly changing landscape of healthcare and the required standards. In light of this, the old ways of teaching have become irrelevant as new teaching strategies are essential because of values within nursing, culture, faculty workload and student demographics. The nursing educators are faced with the challenge of educating students from different cultural backgrounds and who need to appreciate other cultures to become culturally competent (Perez, Luquis, & Prez, 2013). Nursing curriculum that does not embrace "study abroad" concept tends to produce cultural incompetent nursing students. Study abroad concept allows students to gain insights into how cultures shape their perception of health and healthcare delivery models.

Although such cultural learning experiences are critical in baccalaureate nursing programs, most programs are lacking nursing educator who can effectively educate students who would lead global emersion experiences as they pursue their future nursing career practice. With such deliberations, it is apparent that with the continued globalization, the nursing curriculum needs to focus on how nursing educators can set standards of educating culturally competent students. The faculty workload has been identified as one of the factors that cause inefficiency by the educators in efficiently educating culturally competent students. According to Bednarz, Schim, and Doorenbos (2010), when educators are overworked, they are unable to address cultural concerns required by nursing students comprehensively. Discrimination in higher institutions of learning has also been found to highly contribute to the production of incompetent cultural nurses. A combination of these attributes is necessary in case cultural competent nursing is an aspect to be considered.

Internal Organizational Trends for Support of the Gap

With the increase in immigration across the globe and globalization, the nursing profession has been changing to meet the needs of the ever-changing society. Universities and nursing programs are rising to the occasion with the intent of increasing diversity not only within the educational institutions but also with the purpose of preparing nursing students to get ready to serve diverse clients when they join the nursing career. Nontraditional students are increasingly replacing traditional students in various nursing programs (Edberg, 2013). Also, it is vital to note that traditional nursing is increasingly losing value as diversity is increasing. Studies have documented that patients do not care about the background of the clinician attending to them as long as they offer satisfactory services.

Arguments have been presented that since nursing programs have realized that these facts are inevitable, a change of nursing curriculum is critical to meet the contemporary needs of healthcare clients. However, expansion of diversity in the nursing profession has forced nursing students to embrace diversity in their learning programs. When the nursing institutions focus on meeting the needs of the students, the gaps are easily closed with focus channeled towards producing more cultural competent graduates.

Why the Gap Exists

In the last three decades, there have been changes in the healthcare sector due to variation in demographics and cultural diversity. Patients are seeking healthcare services abroad based on their belief that the services offered there are better than the ones provided in their countries. Therefore, the issue of cultural diversity becomes evident. Since this was not the trend in the 70s and 80s, some nursing programs have taken time to change with the changing variety. The process is gradual and cannot be accomplished in one phase (Galanti, 2014). As most universities and nursing programs try to devise a curriculum that can assure cultural competency, some students experience hardships as they expect to be prepared for the market while being fully culturally competent.

Getting the right nursing educators is also another challenge to many institutions. The educator must have been a product of cultural diversity having been exposed to different cultural settings in their career or as a product of cultural competent nursing student. In most case, the already existing nursing educators take time to acquaint themselves with the new diversity curriculum. Studies have shown that this is a daunting experience for educators who have been using a traditional curriculum all their time as educators (Galanti, 2012). It is crucial to note that some of them are accustomed to conventional practices that make them discriminative in their career. Embracing diversity becomes difficult for them, and thus, they are unable to teach their students about becoming culturally competent students. In light of this, these deliberations sum up to the causes of the gap that exists in the nursing curriculum and which makes cultural diversity a tough experience. In the contemporary world, the nursing practice and nursing education have no other option apart from embracing cultural diversity. Therefore, there is a need to develop and maintain a curriculum that produces culturally competent nursing students. As such, this can be achieved by articulating the causes identified and working towards developing effective solutions.

The Target Audience.Although the issue of diversity is mainly the sole responsibility of the learning institution, the beneficiary is the nursing student. Students have the right to quality education that prepares them thoroughly for the job market after they graduate. In the contemporary world, nurses have to embrace cultural diversity in case they have to be relevant in the healthcare market. Today, even in the local healthcare clinic, there is a high probability that the next patient could be somebody from a different cultural background. Therefore, the issue of diversity is not disputable at all. Edberg (2013) noted that even within a healthcare center, diversity is critical in case successful cooperation has to be achieved. For instance, a doctor working with a nurse from a different cultural background can have a difficult time once he fails to embrace diversity. Effective communication is necessary to offer quality services to clients. Any misunderstanding between a doctor and a nurse can lead to wrong medication or even death of the patient.

Nursing students need to accept any new changes in the curriculum that are intended to enrich cultural competence learning. Regardless of the personal view of cultural diversity, students have to differentiate between work ethics and personal life. As such, diversity should be employed by students to contribute to improving their personal and professional development positively. However, having been acquainted with the importance of diversity in the nursing profession, nursing students have the right to push for curriculum changes that advocate for diversity.

Characteristics of Target Audience

Regardless of the education level or setting, the focal point is that all nursing students should have the diversity of knowledge to be fit for the job market. However, the most important thing is that the nursing programs have to include diversity as a competency-based approach. A nursing student does not have any specific level that they can be subjected to diversity learning. The concept should be a continuous program right from the time one is enrolled as a nursing student in the university or any other nursing program to the time they join the job market (Perez, Luquis, & Prez, 2013). The focus entails what students want to achieve in future as professional nurses, and this is attained by developing diversity knowledge as soon as they join the course.

Nevertheless, towards the end of their course, the students need to be exposed to nursing practice in form of internship to familiarize themselves with the profession and put in practice what they have been learning in class about diversity. According to Bednarz, Schim, and Doorenbos (2010), the more they mingle with patients and fellow nurses and doctors from different cultural backgrounds, the more they gain more experience about the issue of diversity and its importance as far as the profession is concerned. Conversely, having been subjected to evidence-based learning builds up the student's ability to develop personal and professional skills required when attending to patients from different cultural backgrounds.

Professional Development

Cultural competence is indispensable to all nurses and the healthcare professionals in the current world. For nursing students to progress in their professional development, there is a need to have measures designed. One of the strategies is to ensure that the students clearly understand the importance of cultural diversity at an individual level. Although the curriculum may offer programs advocating for it, personal acceptance is equally critical (Edberg, 2013). Additionally, students have to identify an institution that provides diversity based curriculum to acquire the required knowledge on the same. Although one may have the idea of the importance of diversity, it is essential to strengthen the understanding by way of enrolling in an institution that supports diversity in its curriculum.

As much as one would want to enter the job market with the knowledge of diversity offered in the learning institution, it would not yield useful results in case the students do not familiarize themselves with the work setting while they are still in college (Edberg, 2013). Therefore, it is critical to acquire that experience in the form of internship before entering the practice after the course. As such, this is also important in that the students not only get time to understand the concept firsthand but to also have an idea of how best they can relate with fellow nurses and physicians.

Proposed Solution

Once the students have identified what they need to become culturally competent, it is essential to set an outline of how they can achieve it as well. First, the learning environment is crucial in supporting cultural competency for nursing students. Since one of the challenges is the failure by the learning institutions in providing a comprehensive diversity program, the students have the responsibility of ensuring that they look for institutions that fully support this aspect (Galanti, 2014). The other element entails students pushing for diversity education from their institutions in case they are already enrolled. They have the prerogative of ensuring that they are supported to acquire cultural competency required by nursing students.

In support of professional development, there is a need by the students to demand placements so that they can acquire the experience before they join the job market. However, this can only be achieved once they embrace diversity right from the class and their community.

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