As healthcare providers, we should always be prepared to care for patients from multicultural backgrounds and be aware of the cultural differences and values of different populations and the impact culture has on health and wellness. In recent years, there has been a big emphasis on educating healthcare providers about how to give culturally competent care (Yeager & Bauer-Wu, 2013). Cultural humility is incorporated into how we care for a diverse population of patients and communities along with cultural competence. Even though these concepts are alike, they differ in goals and outcomes. Cultural humility is a lifelong process in which an individual uses self-reflection and critique and not only learns about someone else’s culture and cultural needs but to examine self and explore one’s own personal beliefs and identity (Yeager & Bauer-Wu, 2013). Cultural humility goes beyond cultural competence and emphasizes the importance of providing care that is culturally competent, examining oneself for personal bias, beliefs, and values, as well as committing to a lifelong learning process. When incorporating cultural humility into care, professionals must approach patients with openness and readiness to learn. Assumptions should not be made, and individualized can be achieved.
Three attributes that are emphasized in cultural humility include self-awareness, humbleness, and openness. Openness is one of the first steps in developing cultural humility and is described as being open to explore and learn new ideas (Foronda, Baptiste, Reinholdt, & Ousman, 2016). Humbleness understanding and accepting that all humans are equal and that no person is better than another (Foronda et al., 2016). When a person is humble during interactions with others, personal beliefs are set aside, and the terms superiority and dominance are forgotten. Self-awareness is defined as recognizing your own values, beliefs, strengths, and limitations, in addition to the ways someone’s views may appear to others (Foronda et al., 2016).
It is important for healthcare professionals to understand the scope of diversity to deliver individualized quality care and practice cultural humility (Lightfoot & Quintana, 2017). With each patient interaction, every nurse should be open and accepting to a patient’s opinions and cultural norms. At the end of a long day, we should reflect on the interactions experienced and on how to improve your practice and communication skills. As a result, we are not only providing the best individualized and culturally acceptable care but also creating a great nurse-patient relationship and improving our knowledge base and skills, which will ultimately improve patient outcomes.