Cultural competence, cultural sensitivity
Cultural competence and cultural sensitivity are two terms used in the healthcare field to refer to an individual’s ability to effectively interact with individuals of different cultural backgrounds. Cultural competence is a broader term that refers to an individual’s overall knowledge and understanding of how culture influences health care decisions, beliefs, and practices. The three components of cultural competence are awareness, knowledge and skills. Cultural competence requires the ability to recognise and accept the biases of their culture as well as that of other cultures.
Cultural sensitivity, on the other hand is focused more on communication and behavior when interfacing with people of different backgrounds. This includes respecting boundaries by not making assumptions about a person’s preferences or values based on their culture as well as using language appropriate for each particular situation. Furthermore, it involves open-mindedness towards any potential misunderstandings due to language barriers or unfamiliar concepts related to another culture’s medical practice. Both terms are essential to help healthcare professionals build trust and improve patient outcomes.