Explain why cultural competence could be a step backwards.

Something to Think About
“…although descriptions of cultural characteristics and practices can be useful to health care practitioners and researchers, they can also reinforce stereotypes and simplistic views of particular ethnocultural groups as outsiders, as different, and as ‘other’” (Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada et al., 2010, pp. 18).

“Cultural safety takes us beyond cultural awareness and the acknowledgement of difference. It surpasses cultural sensitivity, which recognizes the importance of respecting difference. Cultural safety helps us to understand the limitations of cultural competence, which focuses on the skills, knowledge, and attitudes of practitioners. Cultural safety is predicated on understanding power differentials inherent in health service delivery and redressing these inequities through educational processes (Spence, 2001)” (Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada et al., 2009, pp.2)

“While cultural competence is an important concept, it can sometimes overlook systemic barriers, which makes it inadequate to fully address health care inequalities. Cultural safety, however, promotes greater equality in health and health care…[as it addresses the] root causes of health inequalities” (Canadian Nurses Association, 2013, pp.3).

  1. For this Discussion, answer the following questions:
    a. Explain why cultural competence could be a step backwards.
    b. How could having in-depth knowledge about an ethnic group actually be a bad thing when trying to practice culturally safe nursing?

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