Cultural Competency Inservice
What is Cultural Competency and why is it important?
Cultural Competency is rooted in Social Justice. It involves all of our staff to be able to work with, communicate with, and understand the differences of different Cultures. That means that we as staff at Schmitt need to be able to communicate with people from different ethnic, religious, cultural, economic, gender, age, or other social backgrounds. How we interact with and take care of someone who is from India will be different than someone from the U.S., for example. We as staff must be able to meet the needs of those from a different culture by being open to the importance of each resident’s culture, by expanding our knowledge of their particular individual culture, and by being able to adapt our service to meet their unique cultural needs.
A great example of this would be someone who is Jewish. Their culture is very different. This past year, I visited a Senior Community that was a Jewish home. Most of their staff are not Jewish but most of their residents are. They serve Jewish foods and follow Jewish customs there. The staff at this facility have had to not only learn their jobs as Nurses, CNAs, Housekeepers, Food Service workers, Maintenance Workers, Activity workers, and all other positions, but they also had to learn the Jewish Culture including customs, food do’s and don’ts, and possibly even some Language barriers.
The reason above show why Cultural Competency is so important. In addition to that, the State Regulations state that we must treat all residents with Dignity and Respect and provide for them the highest quality of life possible. If someone comes to us from a different culture, these regulations would be extremely difficult to fulfill if we do not get training in say Jewish Customs, or even the Needs of Transgender individuals, for example.
I know if Richland Center we have not often been approached with looking at the needs of many folks outside our normal culture but in the future as things change we will have to be open to learning the customs and needs of others that may fall outside what our “norm” has been here in the past. Just because different cultures have different ways of doing things, it does not mean that our culture is right and theirs is wrong. It is a simple matter of being open to and able to adapt when we are presented with referrals from different cultures.