Letter to the editor – Letter to the Editor
Please forward my congratulations to Dr. Geraldine Brown on her article in the Summer 2001 of Minority Nurse Newsletter. I received my copy yesterday and just took the time to read her articles!! How exciting that someone sees cultural competence the way I see it–that is, that cultural competence is not specifically about racial issues; rather it’s health care sensitive to the needs and health status of people different than oneself-which in fact is everyone! Culturally competent care by female nurses to male patients is something of which we have much experience. Culturally competent care of male nurses to female patients is something that is quite invisible. As a nurse who is also a man, I still feel we have a ways to go in getting every nurse to view every person as a unique individual. Unfortunately, at my school of nursing, cultural competence frequently boils down to racism-indeed a significant issue; but cultural competence is much more than racism. As a white middle-class male, it is often assumed that I’m cultural incompetent without validating that assumption. It is really quite depressing since I have invested much time and effort into learning about belief systems different than my own. My students have often stated they feel despite being a man and Caucasian I am one of the most culturally-sensitive faculty they’ve met. Even though I try to be culturally competence and seek to learn from others all the time; others treat me as a lost cause because of my gender and race! But, please forward this message–I will keep her article near and dear to me–it gives me hope that we can move beyond racial issues!
Michael Williams, MSN, RN, CCRN
Assistant Professor of Nursing, Eastern Michigan University
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