To be culturally competent is significant for healthcare providers now, more than ever. It’s inevitable. Despite an individuals ethnicity, we all will encounter people who are different. In regards to a healthcare provider, this is crucial in order to effectively communicate with and assist patients. Throughout my college career, I’ve experienced several occurrences that have contributed to me being aware of cultural competency as a healthcare provider.
If you looked up the word diversity in the dictionary, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro would be there. Since the first year of college, it has been said and was later proven that UNCG is the most diverse campus in the UNC system. The campus consists of veterans, adult learners, international students and people of all races and ages. Out of the many subjects I’ve taken at UNCG, American Sign Language was the most impactful subject. The reason for that was because I’d never had an interaction with someone who used sign language. It’s amazing how much we take things for granted such as hearing and seeing. I became sensitized to be competent is to have the necessary ability, knowledge or skill to do something successfully. Diversity is the state of being, variety, and a range of different things. Culture is the way that related to many ideas, customs, and social behaviors. To be culturally competent as a healthcare provider is imperative now more than ever. It is crucial to effectively communicate with and assist patients in a manner that is conducive to inclusion for all. Healthcare providers are able to view many things in various levels including professionally and personally. Upon adding culture to diversity you are bringing a variety human societies or cultures in a specific region or even worldwide. The more culturally competent you are, the easier it becomes for you to understand the impact diversity had on healthcare providers. The reason for this is that as a provider you are going to assist patients from many backgrounds, possibly from all over the world. One society or culture may do things differently or completely foreign from another so being able to adapt to the variety of clientele is essential.
This experience prepared me to successfully function in the real world, especially in the workplace.
My address one encounter took place during the couple of years I worked as a certified nursing assistant. I served as a CNA in a nursing home and through a home healthcare agency. However the two exposed me to different aspects of diversity. In the nursing home, in regards to the environment, I knew what I was walking into. For instance, the supplies I needed for each shift were readily available each night. In home healthcare, there were times I had to improvise to meet the needs of the patient. Home healthcare wasn’t as strict compared to the nursing home. Sometimes I was able to attend family functions and experience new ways of living. Since I created an environment for my patients to tap into who they truly are, totally detached from their health issues, I was informed of various and unique life events they experienced. This brought about innovation and creativity that empowered me and make life more accommodating for those I help now and in the future. Serving as a CNA taught me how to adapt, which has enabled me to provide optimal care to my patients despite the profession.
My job as a dental assistant was similar to a CNA in regards to the level of communication I was able to achieve. I was able to connect and serve my patients according to who they were in addition to their health needs. The most frequent concurrence in the dental office that stood out to me was the language barrier. There were times we served patients who needed a translator with them. When I would talk to the translator, who talked to the patient, I felt a slight disconnect. It lacked a direct connection, prohibiting a genuine and strong doctor-patient relationship. Yes, the patient received excellent care but to me, it was just that missing piece.
Collectively these experiences have deeply impacted how I interact with people, specifically those who are remotely different. There may be many factors that make everyone different from one another but there is one thing we do have in common. We are all people. I strive to treat people the way I want to be treated. A persons looks, education or socioeconomic status do not dictate how another human being should be treated. As healthcare providers, we are leaders and making the world a better place for everyone starts with us.