Cultural Competence

Competency Statement: The nursing student demonstrates respect for each person’s cultural values, beliefs, life experiences and health practices.


The nursing student:

  1. Defines the terms culture, cultural awareness, cultural humility, cultural competence and cultural safety
  2. Discusses the history and principles of cultural safety
  3. Discusses the relationship between cultural competence and patient safety
  4. Discusses when and how interpreting and translation services should be used
  5. Describes how to work collaboratively with a Cultural Liaison Officer3
  6. Discusses how the life experiences of migrants and refugees can impact their health and wellbeing
  7. Discusses how colonisation and racism has impacted the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  8. Articulates personal views about caring for people from different cultural backgrounds
  9. Openly discusses own cultural values, attitudes, biases and preconceptions

The nursing student:

  1. Demonstrates the ability to conduct a cultural assessment
  2. Demonstrates cultural empathy by seeking to understand the person’s cultural and spiritual values, needs, practices and perspectives
  3. Adapts practice to accommodate the person’s cultural needs and values (where appropriate)
  4. Avoids generalisations and stereotypes when discussing people from different cultural groups
  5. Demonstrates how to access an interpreter (if required)
  6. Demonstrates how to access an appropriate Cultural Liaison Officer /community support representative (if required)
  7. Seeks to understand whether the person feels culturally safe

Cultural competence is integral to safe and effective clinical practice. The term cultural competence refers to behaviours and attitudes that enable systems, organisations, professions and individuals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. Cultural competence refers to the willingness to adapt practice to meet the needs of people from diverse cultures, and the ability to interact with persons from cultures and/or belief systems different to one’s own. Cultural safety is as important to quality care as clinical safety; however, the presence or absence of cultural safety is determined by the recipient of care, rather than the caregiver.

Note: Cultural Liaison Officer in this context refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Liaison Officers and Refugee and Migrant Health Officers etc.