Do you have any religious practices that I need to understand while caring for you?

The nurse can begin properly gathering cultural information from patients after first gaining an awareness of their own cultural beliefs and biases. After gaining self-awareness, the nurse must move toward acceptance of the patient and their culture. Through acceptance, the nurse can then begin to evaluate the needs of the patient without the interference of stereotyping or personal bias (Ferwerda, 2016). Finally, the patient is asked questions that help the nurse understand their cultural identification, such as:


Do you have any religious practices that I need to understand while caring for you?

Can you tell me your perception of your illness?

What are some treatments for your illness that you have tried?

Culturally competent nurses provide better patient care, because they are able to view the patient holistically. When a patient feels respected or heard, the nurse-patient relationship is strengthened through trust. The patient’s care becomes individualized and meets the specific health care needs of the patient. Social determinants of health (SDOH) that affect their physical health can also be addressed(Falkner, 2018). Patient education and treatment that embraces the patient’s culture increases their compliance.

Cultural competency is a continuous journey of education, self awareness, and assessment. There is no way to become an expert on every culture. However, by remaining sensitive to the culture of the patient, the nurse can acquire the knowledge and necessary skills to adjust interventions to meet the individual needs of the patient. This approach to holistic health care preserves the patient’s cultural identification and integrates their traditions into the plan of care (Falkner, 2018).


Falkner, A., (2018). Cultural Awareness. In Grand Canyon University (Eds.), Health promotion: health and wellness across the continuum. Retrieved from

Ferwerda, J., (2016). How to care for patients from different cultures [Blog post]. Retrieved from


Cultural Competence is being aware that others may have differences in their culture than western cultures. Learning and respecting the differences is important to provide culturally competent care. (Faulkner, A. 2018) Incorporating traditional culture values with western medicine will promote better health outcomes.

To begin, there are ways to gain insight on a patients culture. For instance, U.S. Department of Health and Human resources website in the minority health section there are population profiles for different ethic groups and a general idea of their culture health practices and values. In addition to minority health profiles there are continuing education courses to maintain knowledge on cultural competencies.

As the nurse, having a basic knowledge of the differences in cultures is important but it is more important to learn your patients individual cultural values. This is done by gaining a trusting relationship with the patient and asking questions in a respectful, non-judgmental manor. For instance, American Indians may use a more holistic approach such as herbs and meditation therapies for their health. In dealing with several different ethic/cultural groups I’ve learned we have differences. Such as, I currently have a patient whose mother will not take in health information, we must talk to her husband first. It is very common in the western culture for the mother to make more of the decisions for the child but in this case, it is not. Respecting how their culture works is keep in providing culturally competent care.


Falkner, A. (2018). Cultural Competence. Dynamics in Nursing Art and Science of Profession Practice 1st ed.Retrieved from

Office of Minority Health. (n.d.). Retrieved February 12, 2020, from

Office of Minority Health Population Profiles. (n.d.). Retrieved February 12, 2020, from




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