Cultural competency in critical care is providing care to patients and their families that is compatible with their values and the traditions of their faiths. This requires awareness of one’s own values and those of the healthcare system. The nurse must also become aware of the cultural and spiritual values of patients and families. Although knowledge of many cultures is impossible, willingness to learn about, respect, and work with persons from different backgrounds is critical to providing culturally competent care. This article discusses elements essential for increasing cultural competency.
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Complementary and Alternative Therapies| February 01 2000
Awareness: The Heart of Cultural Competence
Barbara J. Leonard, RN, PhD, PNP;
From the School of Nursing, Center for Spirituality and Healing, and Departments of Clinical Medicine and Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
Reprint requests to Barbara J. Leonard, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, Center for Spirituality and Healing, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota 6-101 WDH, 308 Harvard Street, SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455.
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AACN Adv Crit Care (2000) 11 (1): 51–59.
Barbara J. Leonard, Gregory A. Plotnikoff; Awareness: The Heart of Cultural Competence. AACN Adv Crit Care 1 February 2000; 11 (1): 51–59. doi:
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