Cultural competence is simply the ability to interact
with people of different socio-economic and cultural background. It is normal
for people from all walks of life to meet at one point in time and it is
cultural competence that allows them to co-exist peacefully.
From the definition, understanding the concept of
culture is the key to understanding cultural competence. People do not
biologically inherit a culture, they learn it. People may share cultural
tendencies and pass these tendencies to the next generations; however, cultural
frameworks are never rigid, and they are constantly evolving.
Many factors—such as ethnic identification,
socioeconomic status, migration history, gender, age, religion, and physical
capabilities—have a profound impact on a person’s way of life. Based on these
variables, people may be members of several subcultures (smaller, but in some
ways distinct, units within a larger culture).
Today, diversity in the workplace is the norm rather than the exception.
For instance, in the medical sector, patients and clients are likely to look
different from—and think and act differently than—the clinician.
They have a wide range of ethnic identifications,
religions, “material realities”, beliefs, and behaviors that lead to rich
diversity and cultural complexity. Each patient, and each physical therapist,
is unique. The benefits of appreciating and understanding cultural issues in
the doctor-patient relationship include:
Developing a trusting
Gaining increased information from patients. Improving communication with patients. Helping negotiate
differences. Increasing compliance with treatment and ensuring
better patient outcomes. Increased
patient satisfaction. Components of
cultural competence. You need to ask
yourself the following questions: -Are
you aware of your own cultural worldview?
-What is your attitude towards cultural
differences? -Do you know various
cultural practices and world views?
-Which cross-cultural skills do you have? Importance of learning cultural
competence at an early age. Children
need to learn and develop cultural competence at an early age. This is so
because developing cultural competence makes it easy for children to
understand, interact and communicate effectively with people across cultures.
Moreover, in this era of globalization, governments
all over the world are looking for ways in which the world can be converted
into a global village, and cultural competence forms the basis of their steps.
There are therefore efforts in coming up with a cultural competence
curriculum. For a cultural competence
curriculum to be effectively put in place, there are certain institutional
The curriculum must have the institutional support of
the leadership, faculty, and students. Institutional and community
resources must be committed to the curriculum. Community leaders must be sought out and involved in designing the curriculum
and providing feedback. The institution and its faculty need to
commit to providing integrated educational interventions appropriate to the level of the learner.
A cultural competence curriculum must have a clearly defined evaluation process
that includes accountability and evaluation (for example, evidence of a
planning process to assure appropriate
inclusion of material throughout the curriculum, details on curriculum process and content [including
duration and types of educational
experiences], specific student feedback, and consideration of outcomes
Concisely, in practice, cultural competence acknowledges and incorporates—at all levels—the importance of culture, the assessment of cross-cultural relations, the need to be aware of the dynamics resulting from cultural differences, the expansion of cultural knowledge, and the adaptation of services to meet culturally unique needs. Perhaps that is why it is very important in the modern globalization world.
Heritage & Future