Australia has one of the most diverse multi-cultural populations in the world.

Cultural competence means having the ability to engage and interact positively with people across all cultures. This involves having self-awareness of your own worldviews, but also a willingness to self-reflect and advocate change. As a culturally competent nurse you can contribute towards reducing health disparities across multicultural communities. Through patient empowerment and cultural sensitivity you can strive to establish respect and rapport with genuine respect for cultural beliefs and values. From the perspective of Indigenous Australians, cultural competence is a key strategy for reducing health inequalities and improving access, quality and effectiveness of care delivered.

This module provides a number of resources to enhance cultural competency and explore cultural diversity.

Cultural competence in nursing

All of us are cultural beings. All of us have culture. Our culture shapes how we see the world and make sense of it. Culture influences all of our behaviours and interactions.

Improving cultural competency
Providing a supportive environment and clear processes for the workforce to explore the cultural needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients can be a significant step towards the development of a safe and respectful organisation, where patients, their families and other community members can feel comfortable to engage with and receive care.

Australian Indigenous Health Info Net
Helping to close the gap by providing the evidence base to inform practice and policy in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

Cultural Competence Program
The Cultural Competence Program (CCP) is an online training course aimed at building capability around cultural diversity in the workplace. It features engaging multimedia learning modules and a wealth of resources.

Workin g with Indigenous Australians
People in human services organisations will provide more appropriate services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people if they understand Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s history, cultural and social reality.

The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) is the sole representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives in Australia.

NMBA and CATSINaM joint statement on culturally safe care
The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) are committed to addressing racism and demonstrating leadership to nurses and midwives to ensure they value the needs of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples, and promote and provide culturally safe care.

Johnson, R., & Withers, M. (2018). Cultural competence in the Emergency Department: Clinicians as cultural learners. Emergency Medicine Australasia : EMA, 30(6), 854-856. doi:10.1111/1742-6723.13197

Bonvicini, K. A. (2017). LGBT healthcare disparities: What progress have we made? Patient Education and Counselling, 100(12), 2357-2361. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2017.06.003

CastanedaGuarderas, A., Glassberg, J., Grudzen, C. R., Ngai, K. M., SamuelsKalow, M. E., Shelton, E. & Jang, T. B. (2016). Shared decision making with vulnerable populations in the Emergency Department. Academic Emergency Medicine, 23(12), 1410-1416. doi:10.1111/acem.13134

Dell, E. M., Firestone, M., Smylie, J., & Vaillancourt, S. (2016). Cultural safety and providing care to aboriginal patients in the Emergency Department. CJEM, 18(4), 301-305. doi:10.1017/cem.2015.100

Wechkunanukul, K., Grantham, H., & Clark, R. (2014). Cultural competence in Emergency Department. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal, 22(4), 35.