Critical Cultural Competence
In the current, very timely “Editor’s Pick” article titled “Critical Cultural Competence for Culturally Diverse Workforces: Toward Equitable and Peaceful Health Care, Dr. Adel F. Almutairi and Dr. Patricia Rodney describe the concept of “critical cultural competence” as essential to peace and health. In their analysis, they view peace as not only a political responsibility of the state, but also a sociocultural concept that is relevant to all human encounters, animated by the ideal of human dignity. The basis for this perspective is described in the article as follows:
The theoretical underpinnings of the approach to critical cultural competence that we articulate in this article is an extension of the findings from Almutairi’s doctoral research project, which was a qualitative exploration of the cultural competence of a multicultural nursing workforce in a tertiary hospital in Saudi Arabia. The nursing workforce in that Saudi tertiary hospital includes nurses from more than 25 nationalities from different parts of the world who provide care to the indigenous people of Saudi Arabia. The findings in Almutairi’s doctoral research project explicated the complex nature of cultural and linguistic diversity during clinical encounters. He found that this diversity poses threats to the physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and cultural safety of nurses, patients, families, and their communities. Such threats are caused by the increased potential for cultural clashes, negative attitude, and misunderstandings related to both communication and behavior. (p. 203)
Using evidence from Dr. Almutairi’s research, they present an analysis of the challenges of working in a multicultural environment, as well as insights that can lead to peace in health care delivery. They conclude:
In this article, we have argued that because of its foundations in postcolonial theory and cultural safety—as well as its operationalization through critical awareness, critical knowledge, critical skills, and empowerment—critical cultural competence offers an action orientation from which to enact our shared responsibility and address structural injustices. It is our conviction that as a nursing profession we are well positioned to look toward the future and share responsibility locally, nationally, and globally to foster equitable and peaceful heath care. (p. 209)
I hope that ANS readers will find this message relevant, will share this work broadly, and will join the challenge to foster equitable and peaceful health care. To download your copy of the article at no cost, visit the ANS web site now!