With 40% of the U.S. population currently consisting of either immigrants or first-generation Americans, and with people of color actually outnumbering Caucasians in some parts of the country, it’s imperative that health care facilities provide cultural competence training for their nurses, to ensure that all patients receive quality care. After all, nurses are on the front lines of patient care and are often the first professionals that patients encounter when they enter the health care system. Fortunately, there are a variety of training options your organization can choose from to help your nursing staff develop these essential cross-cultural skills.

What should a cultural competence training program include? It should discuss overall organizational cultural competence as well as focus on the specific population groups and/or health issues that are relevant to the community your facility serves. It also should address the linguistic access needs of patients with limited English proficiency, as outlined in the National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in health care, developed by the Office of Minority Health (OMH) in 2000.

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