Cultural Competence among the Hispanic People


CulturalCompetence among the Hispanic People

CulturalCompetence among the Hispanic People

TheHispanic people originate from Central America, Mexico and SouthAmerica. With the increase of Hispanics in America, there is a greatneed for the health sector to understand the cultural differences andsimilarities. The paramount challenge when interacting with theHispanic people is the language barrier. Although majority of themspeak Spanish, there are pronunciation differences among somecultural groups (Poma, 1983).The Hispanic people prefer naturalhealers, who use plants and herbs for treatment to contemporarymedicines. In additional, they believe in myths regarding medicalconditions and may not readily accept hospital diagnosis, as theyprefer to use home therapies (Peterson-Iyer, 2008). The Hispanicsbelieve that good health is a gift from God and ailments are apunishment from God.

Medicalpractitioners trained within the American system tend to assumepeople’s behaviors based on values, culture, religion, ethnicity,and practices. Familiarity with people’s practices and values leadsto stereotyping. Based on cultural trust in traditional healers, andpoor economic status, it is assumed that the Hispanic people do notseek medical attention until when the condition worsens. Hispanicsbelieve that some conditions like pregnancy are natural and there isno need to seek medical help while pain is a punishment from God(Rivera, Méndez, Gueye, &amp Bachmann, 2007). There are positiveassumptions on the Hispanic people like they eat spicy foods andbring the whole family during medical appointments.

Nursesshould use the assumptions on the Hispanic people to influence thehealth care and outcome positively. The Hispanic people believe infamily unity when making decisions and nurses can consult familymembers on some issues to improve the care of patients (Congress,2004). Nurses should offer dietary recommendations that suit Hispanicdiets. Hispanics have a culture of friendliness with strangers andexpect nurses to sit close and lean forward when interacting withthem. Therefore, nurses should not generalize patients according tothe ethnic groups instead, they should treat them as uniqueindividuals.


Poma,P. (1983). Hispanic cultural influences on medical practice. Journalof the National Medical Association,75 (10): 941-946

Congress,E. (2004). Cultural and ethical issues in working with culturallydiverse patients and their families: The use of the Culturagram topromote cultural competent practice in health care setting. SocialWork Visions From Around the Globe: Citizens methods, and approaches,249-263.

Peterson-Iyer,K. (2008) CulturallyCompetent Care for Latino Patients.Santa Clara University. Retrieved from

Rivera,C., Méndez, C., Gueye, N., &amp Bachmann, G. (2007). FamilyPlanning Attitudes of Medically Underserved Latinas. Journalof Women’s Health (15409996),16(6),879-882.