Clinical and educational settings are increasingly recognizing the importance of cultural competence and diversity and inclusion in the workplace. As a professional seeking to develop your own expertise, and if you are passionate about connecting your teams with the same, you can start by taking three key steps.
1. Be Aware
Look around you. The human race is comprised of individuals with different gender identities, skin and hair color, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religious affiliations, family dynamics, and other unique backgrounds and experiences. Be mindful that our world has cultural differences, and your own perceptions may vary greatly from another’s viewpoints based on biological and environmental factors.
2. Build Your Knowledge Base
Now that you may recognize that diversity exists, there is a lot to learn about inclusion. Think about the pieces of your identity that are salient to you; when you introduce yourself to a new acquaintance, what do you say about yourself? What if you are an avid rock climber, but society has varying biases and judgments about your lifestyle? You may be less likely to willingly share this aspect of your identity for this reason, and the same concept can apply in a healthcare setting. Care disparities occur among different minority groups, and it is vital for practitioners, students, any service-oriented professional to learn about health trends (not stereotypes) among different cultural groups, and to take time to learn about the individuals and groups themselves.
3. Apply What You Know
Maybe you can identify what each letter represents when referencing LGBTQ+ patients, but how will that make a difference in a healthcare setting? Any professional can (and should) complete step 2 and research, read, hold purposeful conversations, anything to inform themselves, but it often takes a purposeful training opportunity to help people translate their knowledge to skill.
Dina Proto International specializes in translating cultural competence to clinical relevance. Beyond awareness and knowledge comes the opportunity to open your mind, to develop compassion and understanding of our fellow humans’ awesome individuality, and to become an inclusive, impactful care provider.