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"Providing effective and respectful nursing care to our country’s increasingly diverse population is of paramount importance to the ANA. The OMH curriculum offers nurses the most comprehensive program regarding culturally competent nursing care."

Rebecca M. Patton, MSN, RN, CNOR
President, American Nurses Association



Welcome to Culturally Competent Nursing Care: A Cornerstone of Caring at HHS OMH’s Think Cultural Health. Each of the programs featured on Think Cultural Health (TCH) are founded on the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (National CLAS Standards).

In April 2013, the National CLAS Standards were re-released after undergoing a two-year enhancement initiative. This program, along with others featured on TCH, is scheduled to be under annual review for accreditation purposes and will be updated to reflect the National CLAS Standards enhancements.

To assist you during this transition, we recommend that you reference this crosswalk (PDF - 115 KB) and fact sheet (PDF - 59 KB) which will assist in understanding the numbering and organization of the re-released National CLAS Standards.

Why Culturally Competent Care?

Have you ever experienced a situation where you were unsure about the best way to approach a patient and family because of racial or ethnic concerns? Was there ever a time when language differences prevented you from effectively communicating with a patient?

You play a very important role in the health delivery system. Nurses spend more time in direct patient care than other groups of health professionals and are employed in a variety of settings. Increasingly diverse racial, ethnic, and sociocultural backgrounds of patients, colleagues, and staff may present challenges to you as you strive to provide care. Cultural and language differences may engender misunderstanding, a lack of compliance, or other factors that negatively influence clinical situations and impact patient health outcomes.

Cultural competence

is a set of behaviors, attitudes, and skills that enables nurses to work effectively in cross-cultural situations (OMH Web site).

Case Highlights

Vu Nguyen - A 17-year-old Vietnamese male who is HIV positive and has been taking herbal remedies

Vu Nguyen is being treated for HIV. The patient and his family showed distrust for health care practices and practitioners, to the point that they chose to use traditional Vietnamese herbal medicines instead of the antiretroviral prescription the clinic had prescribed. How can health care practitioners impact the care of Vu Nguyen, especially as he has chosen traditional therapy?

Cultural Insight

Asian and Pacific Islander cultures, among others, use traditional therapies including acupuncture to treat illness (Kaiser Permanente, 2003).

Why Use this Web site?

The Culturally Competent Nursing Modules (CCNMs) were developed to effectively equip you with awareness, knowledge, and skills to better treat your increasingly diverse patient population.

The CCNMs include an Introduction followed by three Courses which are organized by the three themes of the Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards. Included in the Introduction is information about the history of cultural competency and the development of the CLAS Standards.

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