NONPF 39th Annual Meeting
Family Nurse Practitioners, as primary care providers, have a greater responsibility in decreasing health disparities among minority patients. This is due to the fact that nurse practitioners have been utilized to deliver primary care, traditionally in underserved areas or to vulnerable populations (Poghosyan & Lucero, et al, 2012). Healthy People 2020 states that health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health based on their racial or ethnic group (Healthy People, 2020). Through infusing cultural humility into the family nurse practitioner curriculum, there is a greater opportunity for improved health outcomes within the minority population.
Cultural humility is a lifelong process of self-reflection and self-critique (Tervalon, Murray-Garcia, 2010). Much different than cultural competence, cultural humility involves the willingness of the provider to assess the gaps in one’s knowledge and an openness to new ideas, contradictory information, and advice (Tagney, 2000). True cultural humility provides the opportunity to truly partner with a patient through increased communication, trust and mutual discovery of priorities regarding health. As health care reform progresses, family nurse practitioners will continue to be pivotal in assisting minority and underserved patients to attain optimal health.
Nurses are educated to listen to patients, but do we truly ‘hear’ and understand them? When nurse practitioners are thrust into reality, it is common to leave good intentions, and cultural awareness, aside and treat people as disease processes, not individuals. Educating nurses in the medical model often decreases the sensitivity we are taught as nurses. To this end, care providers must always be aware of the fact that even extensive knowledge about a given culture is not the same as having assimilated oneself into that culture therefore, one must be aware of the differences that still exist between their own perspective and the perspective of the members of that culture (Global Health University, 2012). Nurse practitioner faculty hold a specific responsibility in not only teaching behaviors involved in cultural humility, but modeling this behavior and educating preceptors regarding the importance of practicing cultural humility.