CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 15


Cultural Competency

"Culture is especially important in healthcare. It impacts one's definition of health and
illness. It affects when and where care is sought, what symptoms are presented, what
treatments are acceptable, and how and whether adherence takes place."
It affects when and where care is sought,
what symptoms are presented, what
treatments are acceptable, and how and
whether adherence takes place.
The culture of the healthcare professional
plays an equally significant role in the clientpractitioner exchange. Our own personal
attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors may,
consciously or unconsciously, influence
our interaction with, and care of, our
patients. Competence, then, is an indicator
of attitudes, knowledge, and skills that
enable effective cross-cultural practice.
A comprehensive definition of cultural
competency is provided by the National
Association of Social Workers (NASW, 2015,
page 13):
The process by which individuals
and systems understand and
respond respectfully and effectively
to people of all cultures, languages,
classes, races, ethnic backgrounds,
religions, spiritual traditions,
immigration status, and other
diversity factors in a manner that
recognizes, affirms, and values the
worth of individuals, families, and
communities, and protects and
preserves the dignity of each.
We have become fairly good at defining it,
but we also need to be able to document and
evaluate it. The Case Management Society
of America's recently released Standards of
Practice for Case Management (CMSA, 2016)
includes a Standard of Cultural Competency
(Section M). It states that cultural competency
is demonstrated in part by:
* development of a case management
plan of care to accommodate each
client's cultural and linguistic needs and
preferences of service.
* pursuit of professional education to
maintain and advance one's level of
cultural competence and effectiveness

while working with diverse client
populations.
Similarly, last year, NASW updated
its cultural competency standards and
incorporated a companion document on
indicators for achieving cultural competency.
Now titled the NASW Standards and
Indicators for Cultural Competence in
Social Work Practice (NASW, 2015), the
content is based on the efforts and best
thinking of three NASW National Racial
and Ethnic Diversity Committees spanning
a period of 15 years. It reflects the growth,
understanding, and complexity of cultural
competency that results from our country's
changing demographics and the increased
diversity in our population.
The ten standards identified by social
work experts as necessary components of
cultural competency include:
1. Ethics and Values
2. Self-Awareness
3. Cross-Cultural Knowledge
4. Cross-Cultural Skills
5. Service Delivery
6. Empowerment and Advocacy
7. Diverse Workforce
8. Professional Education
9. Language Diversity
10. Cross-Cultural Leadership
An interpretation is provided for each
standard and is then followed by a set
of indicators that practitioners can use
to monitor and evaluate both their own
practice as well as institutional and
regulatory policies. The indicators also can
help professionals and agencies set goals
for increasing cultural competencies. (To
read the document in its entirety, go to
www.socialworkers.org > Resources
and enter "cultural competency" in the
search box.)
The concept of cultural competency
continues to be refined. Previously, we

spoke in terms of cultural awareness,
cultural sensitivity, cultural responsiveness,
or cultural proficiency. Today the focus is on
being culturally competent, but the newest
thinking includes a complement of cultural
humility, a life-long commitment to selfassessment and learning (NASW, 2015).
Achieving and maintaining competency
is a dynamic process, and each practitioner
must take responsibility for learning what
she or he doesn't know. Those of us working
in healthcare have an ethical obligation to
be as culturally competent as we possibly
can be. Our patients and clients deserve
no less. ■

Elizabeth J. Clark,
PhD, MSW, MPH, is
the president of the
Start Smart Career
Center, which helps
women navigate
their nonprofit
careers. Previously,
she was the CEO of
the National Association of Social Workers, a
position she held for 12 years. Dr. Clark has also
served as director of Diagnostic and Therapeutic
Services at Albany Medical Center in Albany,
NY, and has held associate professorships in
Medical Oncology at Albany Medical College
and in Health Professions at Montclair State
University. She currently serves as the social work
advisor for CMSA.

REFERENCES
* Case Management Society of America (CMSA).
(Revised 2016). Standards of Practice for Case
Management. Little Rock, Arkansas: CMSA.
* National Association of Social Workers
(NASW). (2015). Standards and Indicators for
Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice.
Washington, DC: NASW.
Issue 7 * 2016 * DIGITAL

CMSA TODAY

15


http://www.socialworkers.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016

PRESIDENT’S LETTER
ASSOCIATION NEWS
CMSA CORPORATE PARTNERS
Are You Culturally Competent?
Return to Culture – Return to Healing
Appalachian Culture: A Guide for Case Managers
Professional Case Management’s Ethical Quartet for 2017: Part 1, Workplace Bullying and End of Life Care
Diversity of Role Reversal: When the Case Manager Becomes the Patient
INDEX OF ADVERTISERS
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - cover1
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - cover2
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 3
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 4
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 5
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - PRESIDENT’S LETTER
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 7
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 8
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 9
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - ASSOCIATION NEWS
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 11
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - CMSA CORPORATE PARTNERS
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 13
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - Are You Culturally Competent?
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 15
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - Return to Culture – Return to Healing
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 17
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 18
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 19
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - Appalachian Culture: A Guide for Case Managers
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 21
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 22
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - Professional Case Management’s Ethical Quartet for 2017: Part 1, Workplace Bullying and End of Life Care
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 24
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 25
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 26
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 27
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - Diversity of Role Reversal: When the Case Manager Becomes the Patient
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 29
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 30
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 31
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 32
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - 33
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - INDEX OF ADVERTISERS
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - cover3
CMSA Today - Issue 7, 2016 - cover4
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http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CMSQ/CMSQ0113
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CMSQ/CMSQ1113
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ0412
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ1412
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ0312
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ1312
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ0212
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ1212
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ0112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ1112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ0411
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ1411
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ0311
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ1311
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ0211
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ1211
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ0111
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ1111
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com