Cultural Competence, Teamwork, and Collaboration in Healthcare


The ability to communicate effectively with people from different cultural backgrounds is “cultural competency.” Teamwork and cooperation relate to employees’ capacity to work together to achieve a common goal. Regardless of their country of origin or ethnicity, everyone needs access to quality medical care since it is a requirement of modern life. Both technological progress and increased globalization have had a significant positive impact on the healthcare industry. Due to globalization, hospitals in underdeveloped nations now have access to medical equipment manufactured initially in developed countries. In today’s increasingly interdependent cultures, medical professionals are more likely to interact with patients from diverse racial and religious groups and cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. The integration of physicians into the workforce will result in new views and opportunities due to the introduction of novel ideas and approaches that the business may not have previously contemplated. Therefore, the paper assesses and analyzes how cultural competence and teamwork in diversity can impact healthcare organizations.

Culturally competent care is essential to fostering a culture of respect for patients, clinicians, and administrative staff in a healthcare system. A crucial first step in building a more productive team as the healthcare workforce grows is understanding the experiences of different healthcare workers and the value they place on the organization’s cultural competence (Curtis et al., 2019). Senior healthcare executives should consider investing in cultural competency to improve team performance by putting resources into developing a comprehensive plan that addresses patients’ cultural needs. By recruiting and keeping an ethnically diverse workforce, working together with the community on health issues, and rewarding culturally competent care delivery, healthcare organizations can help foster a more inclusive environment for their patients and staff.

Cultural Awareness, Cultural Knowledge, Cultural Competence, Cultural Sensitivity

Cultural awareness is the recognition of the similarities and differences between two different cultures and the use of that consciousness in effective communication with members of another cultural group. Cultural knowledge is the ability to comprehend the values and histories of individuals from other ethnic groups. Nurses that deeply understand their patient’s cultural backgrounds are essential to providing high-quality care, which improves health care in all cultures.

Cultural competency is the ability to comprehend individuals of other cultures, communicate with them successfully, and interact with them while maintaining a good attitude. Having cultural competency necessitates an accurate grasp of one’s culture, which is an ideal first step in developing a multicultural perspective on the world. Being sensitive to different cultures means acknowledging that every culture has something valuable to offer and that no culture is more essential than another.

Importance of Understanding Cultural Diversities

It is, therefore, crucial for those who work in healthcare to have a comprehensive awareness of all of these concepts since they engage with patients from various religions, countries, and regions. Since most medical professionals are familiar with these ideas, they can communicate more clearly and effectively with a wider variety of people and provide those individuals with a higher level of service.

Cultural awareness in healthcare fosters mutual respect and understanding, which boosts patient confidence, promotes more equitable health responsibilities, broadens patient participation on a social level, reduces medical errors, improves data collection, and improves patient preventive care. Doctors can deliver the best possible treatment to their patients if they understand the culture in which they work. Cultural competency helps health workers and organizations in many ways. The social benefits include enhanced patient accountability and empowerment and increased trust and mutual interest between healthcare professionals and patients.

Healthcare providers who take the time to listen and understand their patients are more likely to encourage them to take preventive measures and miss fewer sessions. By doing so, healthcare facilities can reduce or eliminate medical errors and the resulting legal fees while also improving the health of their patients in the process. Finally, decreasing health inequities within patient groups will be aided by a culturally aware organization, a problem still present today. Cultural sensitivity can assist a healthcare provider in reaching out to a diverse range of patients and providing a non-biased approach to treatment, resulting in more beneficial services and increased engagement.

How Verbal Nonverbal Communication May be Misunderstood due to Cultural Differences

Communication is a process in which people express their thoughts and emotions to one another. Conveying of information can only occur where there is a medium, which is a language. Language means of communication can either be verbal or non-verbal. Verbal dissemination of information refers to using words and sounds to express oneself to the other. Word of mouth may be misunderstood when the patient and medical professional do not speak the same language, leading to difficulty understanding one another. A verbal misunderstanding may occur when a patient or doctor expresses themselves in a common language but fail to deliver the intended message due to poor word choice that may not mean what they intend to communicate. Miscommunication occasionally occurs when people communicate using words or phrases with more than one meaning.

Non-verbal communication refers to gestures such as nodding and shaking the head, meaning disagreeing, and the use of signs, writings, and feelings in expression. Sign language strategies are used and embraced by people encountering verbal challenges, such as autistic people. Even with people of the same ethnicity, it is hard to understand what non-verbal individuals, such as the mentally challenged, may try to communicate using gestures since different cultures interpret gestures differently. The situation may be even more complicated when health professionals are presented with a non-verbal patient with whom they do not share cultural ethnicity.

Potential Impacts of Cultural Misunderstandings

Languages, signs, and other modes of communication are all subject to varied interpretations from staff members from diverse cultural backgrounds. Due to the wide range of patients who visit a facility and the varied people who work there, misunderstandings occur as a direct outcome of the cultural variety in the patient population. Misinterpretation of information affects how people interact with one another, their decisions, and conflict management (Danso 2018). Medical facilities and leaders in the healthcare industry need to train their staff on the importance of embracing cultural diversity. In that case, there is a possibility that healthcare workers, due to language barriers and cultural misconceptions, will incorrectly diagnose patients and prescribe the wrong medication. The result, both of which have the potential to be life-threatening and ultimately result in the patient’s death.

Misunderstandings, verbal and non-verbal, give the organization a bad reputation in the community where it is doing business. There is a possibility that misconception will impair how healthcare institutions interact with their suppliers and how disagreements are resolved among staff. It may be difficult for caregivers of people who live with disabilities to communicate the symptoms of their dependents to medical practitioners owing to hurdles such as language problems or cultural views. Therefore, it will deprive the patient of the right to get appropriate treatment and access control measures, which is especially detrimental for patients with epilepsy and other forms of the convulsive disease.

Minimizing Cultural Misunderstandings in Healthcare

To alleviate these misconceptions, the leader of the health care organization should work to improve both their critical thinking abilities and those of the team to guarantee that despite the cultural variety present, the teams can communicate effectively with the patients and among themselves. The leader is responsible for ensuring that the staff understands how to organize data, effectively analyze it, effectually synthesize the analyzed data, and draw conclusions keeping in mind the role of an individual’s values, emotions, and personal experience play in shaping how they interpret information (Schot et al., 2020). The teams need to get training to distinguish between scientific differences and personal discomfort, change their attitudes, and different cultural ideas and assumptions from facts.

By providing medical and support personnel with training on the significance of valuing cultural differences in the workplace, it may be possible to reduce misunderstandings. Diverse community members can express their culture when they are allowed to participate in community outreach activities. It provides an opportunity for the medical institution to acquire new cultural knowledge. In order to achieve the goal of reducing the number of misconceptions, it is essential to make use of the services of an articulate translator who will aid medical experts in translating what the patient says.


Therefore, it is clear that cultural competency plays a vital role in health care institutions. Culture is the primary determinant of whether or not various teams can collaborate effectively to develop various plans and programs within a given setting. The capacity of healthcare providers to understand their patients, interact effectively with them, and provide exceptional services to those patients is directly correlated to their level of cultural competency.


Curtis, E., Jones, R., Tipene-Leach, D., Walker, C., Loring, B., Paine, S. J., & Reid, P. (2019). Why cultural safety rather than cultural competency is required to achieve health equity: a literature review and recommended definition. International journal for equity in health, 18(1), 1-17.

Danso, R. (2018). Cultural competence and humility: A critical reflection on critical cultural diversity concepts. Journal of Social Work, 18(4), 410-430.

Schot, E., Tummers, L., & Noordegraaf, M. (2020). They are working on working together. A systematic review of how healthcare professionals contribute to interprofessional collaboration. Journal of interprofessional care, 34(3), 332-342.

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