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Cultural Competency Matters

Calling for a Deeper Understanding of Healthcare Disparities Among Nurse Leaders

Gergely, Susan Williamson, EdD, MBA

Journal of Nursing Administration: October 2018 - Volume 48 - Issue 10 - p 474–477
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000654
Departments: Leadership Perspectives

Healthcare disparities for racial and ethnic minority patients are a serious issue in the United States. Although socioeconomic factors are a key contributor to these disparities, there are many other influences, related to the patient, system, and provider. A key strategy to address provider-related factors is to assess the cultural competence of caregivers. Utilizing a survey and interviews of AONE members, this study explored the influences affecting the ability of nurse leaders to lead their teams in providing culturally competent care. The study found that nurse leaders need a deeper understanding of the presence of healthcare disparities for racial and ethnic minority patients, more formalized training, and increased opportunities to reflect on their own abilities and potential for bias. Cultural competence must be a strategic priority, providing resources for training, and by holding leaders accountable to improve the level of cultural competence of their teams.

Author Affiliation: Senior Vice President, Chief People Officer, American Hospital Association; and Former Chief Operating Officer and Acting Chief Executive Officer, American Organization of Nurse Executives, Chicago, Illinois.

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Gergely, American Hospital Association, 155 N Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606 (

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