Riverbend City: Principles of Cultural Competence, Coursework Example


Riverbend City Medical Center is a complex and multicultural organization comprised of employees from a variety of backgrounds and experience levels. These employees must exercise sound and reasonable judgment in their efforts to provide culturally competent care and treatment at all times. The case example offers a number of culturally diverse and experienced individuals from a variety of backgrounds; therefore, it is necessary to address each population group individually in order to identify impact and determine specific needs within existing practice settings. The following discussion will consider the individuals described in the case example and their role in promoting positive and culturally appropriate responses to their patients to support optimal treatment outcomes.


The case examples support a discussion of the response effort to a train derailment disaster and the patients who are seen in the emergency department after this event. In the ED, it is important for workers to provide culturally competent care and treatment at all times to ensure that all patients are evaluated equally (Case Example). Each culture that is present within the ED must be treated with sensitivity by recognizing the cultural factors that are prevalent within a given patient population (Case Example). One patient who is seen appears to have been abused must be evaluated as quickly as possible; however, his inability to speak English is a problem for employees that must be addressed in an effective manner through the use of an interpreter (Case Example). In addition, the patient must be provided with a level of attention and treatment that will address his condition as best as possible without jumping to any wrong conclusions and recognizing that cultural customs and practices might play a role in supporting his plan of care (Case Example).

Cultural diversity a challenging process in healthcare practice because many nurses and other providers do not exercise cultural sensitivity in a manner which is consistent with population customs and practices. Therefore, additional training and guidance are necessary in all areas of nursing education as a means of exploring these dimensions and improving communication with those of diverse cultures (Bednarz and Doorenbos, 2010). As a result, nursing educators must provide example frameworks and guidance in a manner that is consistent with the objectives of these cultures and their individual approaches to healthcare and practice (Bednarz and Doorenbos, 2010).

Cultural identities and expectations throughout healthcare practice must be achieved through the understanding of values, customs, and other frameworks to promote open dialogue and mutual respect (Bhui and Dinos, 2009). In the example involving the child who might have been abused, language barriers and subsequent misunderstandings played a critical role in decision-making for the patient and the potential involvement of child protective services (Case Example). In addition, this example leads to other challenging perspectives in regards to culture that must be addressed in future cases where language barriers may lead to misunderstandings or other problems that prohibit effective care and treatment (Case Example).

The case example also provides a great degree of confusion in regards to the primary culture and the practices that are conducted, some of which appear to conflict with standard American values and norms (Case Example). Under these circumstances, a variety of scenarios might have taken place that are grounded in cultural knowledge and awareness of these differences (Duke et.al, 2009). The population referenced in the case might have received better patient care if their cultural norms were acknowledged and understood (Duke et.al, 2009). As a result, it is necessary to identify specific cultural norms and expectations so that the true welfare of the population is addressed (Duke et.al, 2009). It is necessary to address gaps in education and practice that would be well-served by effective planning strategies to accommodate a variety of cultural practices through basic knowledge and practical solutions to common problems that exist within the population in different ways (Gertner et.al, 2010). The example also supports the necessity to expand healthcare knowledge and understanding of cultural differences to ensure that the patients are provided with the best possible care and treatment in this capacity, particularly when there is a potential risk of abuse (Case Example).


Healthcare providers must demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of cultural identity, recognition, and sensitivity so that the care and treatment of all patients is not discriminatory in any way. Therefore, new methods of communication must be identified so that healthcare providers are better able to communicate with their patients without hesitation or lack of understanding. The customs and practices of some cultures might not be equivalent to those typically exercised in the United States; therefore, expert knowledge must be achieved in order to accomplish these objectives. The case example population is relevant because it demonstrates the importance of recognizing cultural diversity and even more importantly, cultural customs and practices as they influence individuals and families. The case example is relevant to the discussion because it captures some of the key concerns in modern healthcare practice as related to cultural diversity.  This discussion also supports the need for additional frameworks that will better address the specific needs of cultures in a manner that will encourage trust and communication between patients and healthcare providers in an open and honest manner which is also reflective of positive treatment outcomes.



Bednarz, H., Schim, S., and Doorenbos, A. (2010). Cultural diversity in nursing education: perils, pitfalls, and pearls. Journal of Nursing Education, 49(5), 253-260.

Bhui, K., and Dinos, S. (2008). Health beliefs and culture: essential considerations for outcome measurement. Disease Management & Health Outcomes, 16(6), 411-419.

Duke, J., Connor, M., and McEldowney, R. (2009). Becoming a culturally competent health practitioner in the delivery of culturally safe care: a process oriented approach. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 16(2), 40-49.

Gertner, E., Sabino, J., Mahady, E., Deitrick, L., Patton, J., Grim, M., Geiger, J., and Salas-Lopez, D. (2010). Developing a culturally competent health network: a planning framework and guide. Journal of Healthcare Management, 55(3), 190-204.