The health of Americans requires improvement in various areas and Healthy People 2020 focuses on improving the Health of Americans by:
- Identifying and prioritizing health improvement opportunities through research and evaluation
- Bringing together all relevant stakeholders including communities for a collaborative effort
- Empowering people for informed decision making (Healthy People 2012)
Cultural and linguistic competency among healthcare providers is highlighted as one key factor affecting the health of a population (Perez and Luquis, 2008). Consequently, Healthy People should list cultural and linguistic competency among healthcare providers as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) that will help improve the nation’s health through reduction of health disparity. This should be followed by continued effort to increase cultural and linguistic competency among healthcare providers.
Achieving Cultural and Linguistic Competence
Cultural and linguistic competence has been outlined as one factor causing health disparities, which consequently calls for efforts to achieve cultural and linguistic competence (Perez and Luquis, 2008). However, the effort to achieve cultural and linguistic competence is faced by various challenges lack of documented strategies and evidence-based practices that nurses can use to achieve cultural and linguistic competence (Perez and Luquis, 2008). Although there is has been much focus on this issue including the establishment of models that nurses can use to achieve cultural and linguistic competence, it is unfortunate that there is limited focus on the issue from the nursing field.
Nonetheless, there are strategies that nurses can use to achieve cultural competence, which include:
- Use of cultural brokers when dealing with various cultural and linguistic groups, which will improve their understanding of different cultural and linguistic groups
- Nurses should document their experience with different communities including the cultural and linguistic experience gained, which act as reference for improving their cultural and linguistic competence
- Continuously assess their cultural and linguistic competence and consequently plan to improve it through education and training
- The above strategies will enable nurses to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate nursing services
CDC (2013). Health, United States, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/hus.htm
Healthy People (2012). Improving the Health of Americans. Retrieved from www.healthypeople.gov/
Perez, M. A., & Luquis, R. R. (2008). Cultural Competence in Health Education and Health Promotion. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.