Cultural Competence and Cultural Contributions are Key Components to Collaboration to Improve Global Health

Thursday, 16 July 2009: 4:05 PM

Bertilla Anna Heggs-Adams, MSN, RN
Department of Nursing Education & Development, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, PA

Purpose: Nurses and the nursing profession have always been at the forefront of health care battles. Their contributions have made, and will continue to make, significant differences for patients globally. One of the products of globalization is increased cultural diversity of patients and nursing staff, across and within countries.

Methods: It is imperative that nurses in all parts of the world integrate cultural awareness and sensitivity to their care delivery model, as well as in professional relationships to be able to provide nursing care that is congruent with patient health beliefs and to also develop and sustain professional collaborative relationships across countries. Cultural competence is important in global health care delivery because culture plays an integral role in the perception of health and disease and the practice and delivery of health care and health-seeking behavior at a personal, local, national, and international level.

Results: Each country and its citizens’ explanatory model of illness may differ, as culture is the lens by which people in the world view health and illness. Nursing interventions must be culturally congruent to make a positive impact. Effective transnational collaborative relationships can only be developed and sustained in an environment where diverse perspectives are welcomed. Important ideas may not be well accepted if it is not presented in culturally appropriate ways.

Conclusion: Thus, no higher value should be placed on any country’s cultural beliefs, but each country’s cultural health beliefs should be seen as cultural contributions!