Cultural competence

Karen Francis, Ysanne Chapman

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter in textbook/reference bookpeer-review


Community nurses work with individuals and groups in contexts that vary from rural and remote communities to metropolitan and inner-city contexts. The clients that nurses work with have unique values, attitudes, beliefs and understandings about health. As a result, nurses need to be innovative and resourceful in harnessing human and material resources and infrastructure to good effect. Working in diverse community environments can be both challenging and rewarding for a professional nurse.It is important that nurses display cultural competency in their professional practice. Cultural competency is sensitivity to different cultural beliefs and practices. Nurses also need to be aware of the social factors that influence the environment in which they work. Pockets of Australia's population are disadvantaged as a result of poverty, underemployment and unemployment, illiteracy, gender, malnutrition, disempowerment and racial discrimination (Doolan, Mills et al. 2008; McMurray & Param 2008). These social factors, as well as the federal government's commitment to equity for all Australians regarding healthcare, are shaping modern nursing practice. The diversity of Australia's population also influences contemporary nursing practice. Using a primary healthcare (PHC) approach, this chapter presents relevant ideology to manage and guide practice that is culturally competent. Determinants of health that impact on the population, and current government and health and welfare initiatives aimed at enhancing health and wellbeing outcomes are both discussed. The role of nurses in supporting, advocating and enabling communities to achieve self-determinism is considered in this chapter, as are the challenges that nurses face in practising in rural and remote communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunity nursing in Australia
EditorsDebbie Kralik, Antonia van Loon
Place of PublicationMilton, Queensland
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Number of pages33
ISBN (Print)9781742168067
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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