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An Emancipatory Approach to Cultural Competency

The Application of Critical Race, Postcolonial, and Intersectionality Theories

Wesp, Linda M., MSN, RN, FNP-BC; Scheer, Victoria, BSN, RN; Ruiz, Ashley, BSN, RN; Walker, Kimberly, MSN, RN, CHPN; Weitzel, Jennifer, MS, RN; Shaw, Leslie, MSN, RN, ACNP-BC; Kako, Peninnah M., PhD, RN, FNP-BC; Mkandawire-Valhmu, Lucy, PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/ANS.0000000000000230
Original Articles

Nurses teach, work, and conduct research in an increasingly hostile sociopolitical climate where health inequities persist among marginalized communities. Current approaches to cultural competency do not adequately equip nurses to address these complex factors and risk perpetuating stereotypes and discrimination. A theory-driven emancipatory approach to cultural competency will instead lead to lasting change and uphold the core nursing value of commitment to social justice. This article explicates key tenets of critical race, postcolonial feminist, and intersectionality theories and then applies them, using an emancipatory approach to cultural competency that can reshape nursing education, research, and practice.

College of Nursing, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

Correspondence: Linda M. Wesp, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, College of Nursing, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, 1921 E Hartford Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53211 (

The authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their insightful feedback and comments.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

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