Nursing Schools and Culturally Sensitive Training

A trend in training for students in nursing schools is rapidly developing across the nation as thousands begin learning the core principles behind cultural sensitivity. Nursing schools in diverse areas were the first to take hold of and propagate sensitivity training, but it’s a topic now being added to the curriculum at more and more nursing schools. Culturally sensitive training is becoming a standard part of psychology classes at a time when the country is embracing its own diverse background and future. Diversity programs are not exclusive to nursing school, however. In many cases, schools coordinate training between several programs; including pharmacy, dentistry, and social specialties.

What is culturally sensitive training?

Culturally sensitive training is a method through which nursing school teach students the broad impact of a diverse number of cultures on healthcare coverage, health decisions by patients, and more. It enables nursing students (and nurses) to better understand their patients, thereby allowing more compassion and better treatment outcomes in the future. The idea of cultural sensitivity helps those in the medical field to respect the rights of their patients while providing the best health care possible.

In essence, culturally sensitive training involves teaching students that it is important to recognize that multiple belief systems exist across the globe and that these systems impact the decisions of patients and medical staff. Even when a culturally influenced decision is made, it can seem strange to a nurse with a different cultural background. Culturally sensitive training seeks to work on allowing medical personnel to accept the diversity in beliefs and work in a manner which shows respect or the patient’s right to choose within their own set of beliefs.

From the time we are children, we all learn within our own culture how to make decisions, how to behave, and how to view the world around us. These perceptions vary between cultures and, as the world becomes more mobile, we are exposed to a greater variety of those perceptions. Not only do nursing students need to be aware of the cultural habits from patients, but the workplace is a culturally diverse system as well. In all areas of nursing, nurses must now be very aware of the major differences in culture and behave accordingly to guarantee the rights of others.

Some of the most common problems in the medical profession can stem from behaviors that work against cultural sensitivity. These behaviors include prejudices to certain ways of thinking, such as the idea that western medicine is inferior to homeopathic care. Alternatively, stereotyping people within a certain belief system can be detrimental to the quality of care afforded to the patients.

In the end, cultural sensitivity training at nursing schools and in allied health programs centers on taking the patient’s point of view and belief system into consideration during the course of care. It helps to make no assumptions about a person’s preferences, to ask the right questions, and respond in a manner that allows the patients to make their own decision with as much relevant information as possible. Nursing schools with a cultural sensitivity program train students to be aware of the differences within a specific society from their own beliefs – including women’s rights and responsibilities, which person in the family may be the decision maker, and what types of medical care are unacceptable.