Healthcare Cultural Competence


You work as manager at Blue River Hospital. You manage a team of 10 patient representatives who interact with patients on a daily basis, helping answer general patient questions, assisting patients through the admissions process, and discussing billing and payment options. This hospital is located in a racially diverse, urban community with a large number of immigrants. The poverty rate is high in the community, and many individuals do not have insurance.

Recently you received feedback that patient satisfaction rates with the hospital are low, and patients pointed specifically to not feeling welcome at the hospital, not having language services in place, and not feeling understood and respected by the hospital staff. To address these concerns, all managers in the organization have been asked to train their staff on culturally competent behaviors. You have decided to create a training presentation to ensure you can clearly communicate the information. In addition to explaining cultural competence, you will also provide real-world examples of how culturally competent behaviors can improve the quality of patient care and the overall healthcare organization.


You are developing a training presentation to train your staff on culturally competent behaviors. In your presentation, you will explain the importance of cultural competence to the field of healthcare and the impact of health disparities. In addition, you will explain the impact of social determinants of health and develop a real-world scenario that both illustrates how a health disparity can impact health and how the healthcare organization should effectively respond. Finally, you will develop a real-world scenario that illustrates the problems a healthcare organization might face if it does not promote culturally competent practices.

  • Introduction to Cultural Competence:To begin, set the stage for your trainees by explaining the overall importance of cultural competence to healthcare.
    • Define cultural competence, and explain its overall importance to the field of healthcare. In your explanation, you might consider the following: How does the diverse landscape of the United States impact the healthcare field? What is the difference between cultural competence and diversity?
    • Define health disparities, and explain the impact of the health disparities on population health. Consider the following: How do health disparities impact quality and access to care for specific populations? How do health disparities impact the burden of disease for a specific community, an individual, or overall health?
  • Cultural Competence and the Delivery of Patient Care:Now that you have provided an overview of cultural competence, it is essential that the trainees learn about the factors that may impact the quality of care and overall health for an individual or community. In the delivery of patient care, providers and staff must be on the lookout for these factors and reflect on the impact of these factors on patients.
    • Describe the five key social determinant areas.
    • Select two of the key social determinant areas and provide a specific example for how their interaction might impact an individual’s quality of care and overall health.
    • Create a real-world scenario that illustrates how a specific social determinant of health may become a health disparity for an individual or community, and explain how a culturally competent healthcare organization might effectively respond to the scenario.
      • Tip: To begin, first choose a specific social determinant of health to focus your scenario on. For example, you might choose economic stability. Then, imagine a time when this determinant could negatively impact a healthcare experience. Write a specific narrative about this instance, as well as an explanation for how a healthcare organization might respond to the scenario in a way that demonstrates sensitivity to various perspectives and differences.
    • Cultural Competence and the Healthcare Organization:In addition to impacting the delivery of patient care, culturally competent behaviors can impact the overall healthcare organization. All employees have a responsibility to promote cultural competence in the organization and thereby promote the reputation of the organization in the community and with stakeholders. You will explain this value to trainees and describe a strategy the organization might employ to demonstrate its cultural competence.
      • Explain how culturally competent practices positively impact the overall healthcare organization. For example, how might this impact patient satisfaction or employee engagement with patients and staff? How can this benefit the overall perception of the organization and the quality of its care?
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