In order to understand my cultural competence, I completed a self assessment checklist that allowed me to reflect on my srengthes and weaknesses regarding cultural competence and respect for other cultures and people.  Here I discuss my findings and how I can grow to become more culturally competent.

 

cultural competence

After reflecting on the self assessment, I believe I am close to the level of cultural competence. I am able to recognize cultural differences in my patient and try to make a great effort at understanding their culture and how that shapes who they are and their life experiences. For example, over my first clinical experience this summer, I had the opportunity to work with a few patients that were from the middle east. It was common that these patients did not speak fluent English and often had a family member their to help. For these patients, it was important that I keep reminding myself to not have any judgments or prejudices regarding how I would interact or treat them. I found it helpful to just ask a lot of questions and spend the extra time to learn what was important to them and make sure I was aware of their beliefs and wishes.

Although I feel I try my hardest to not pass judgement, it is still something I am working at and have to be aware of. It is sometimes difficult for me to have an open mind before treating certain patients, for example, like prison inmates or homeless individuals. I am working at being more aware of my thoughts and prejudices and really trying to keep an open mind in order to be respectful and fair for every patient. It is sometimes hard to shut off my brain and truly be judgement free with all people, but it is something I am aware of and working actively towards improving.

Another area I feel like I can work towards improving is understanding certain cultures or socioeconomic situations that I just don’t have any experience with. I think that it is important to ask a lot of questions with patients that you don’t understand their culture, and that most people are more than willing to help you understand if you are genuine and truly interested in learning. This is something that I would like to gain more experience with as I begin my final clinical rotations and have more opportunities to work with different patients from different backgrounds and cultures.

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