Cultural Competence Among Nursing Staff Providing Geriatric Care in a Community Hospital

Monday, July 11, 2011: 2:25 PM

Moreen Donahue, DNP, RN, NEA-BC1
Meredith Kazer, PhD, APRN2
Lisa Smith, DNP, MSN, RN1
Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, RN, PhD, MBA, FAAN3
(1)Nursing Administration, Danbury Hospital, Danbury, CT
(2)School of Nursing, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT
(3)Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify the importance of cultural competence in the care of older adults from a wide range of ethnic/cultural backgrounds.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to describe the cultural competence of the nursing staff at one community hospital.

Purpose: The purpose of this project was to examine the cultural competence of nursing staff as part of a plan to prepare them for culturally competent care. Participants completed assessment of their own cultural competence in providing care. While nurses are the primary care providers for hospitalized, and vulnerable older adults living in the community, most often they have not received specific preparation in the provision of culturally competent geriatric care. Given the documented deficit in the knowledge and attitudes in care of older adults and the increasing needs of the culturally diverse, growing older adult population, acute care hospitals must take action to educate nurses to care for the unique needs of older adults from many different cultures.

Methods: All registered nurses and nursing assistants working in a community hospital were invited to complete a questionnaire regarding their perceptions of their own cultural competence. There was a 33% response rate (N = 367).

Results: The majority (91%) of the 367 participants (259 RNs and 108 Nursing Assistants) rated themselves as competent or highly competent in working with people from other cultures, 70% agreed that aspects of culture needed to be evaluated with each individual patient, and 59.4% indicated understanding that culture influenced health and health care.

Conclusion: Overall, there was a high level of cultural competence among the staff who completed the survey, perhaps reflecting the emphasis that had been placed on education regarding culture during the previous year.  Program evaluation and subsequent success among RN staff in achieving American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) certification in Gerontological nursing also were positive outcomes among the nursing staff. The presentation includes lessons learned and tips for successful programming in the future.