Cultural Awareness: Ensuring High-Quality Care for Limited English Proficient Patients

Stephanie Betancur

AnnMarie Walton

Cheryl Smith-Miller

Chris Wiesen

Ashley Leak Bryant
cultural awareness, interpreter, limited English proficiency, Latinx, bilingual
CJON 2020, 24(5), 530-537. DOI: 10.1188/20.CJON.530-537

Background: Cancer hospitals throughout the United States have seen an increase in the number of adults who are considered limited English proficient (LEP); such individuals do not speak English as their primary language and have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand the language. This population requires nurses who are responsive to their language and cultural needs.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess cultural awareness among inpatient oncology nurses and to identify areas for cross-cultural training and educational development.

Methods: 44 inpatient oncology nurses from an oncology unit that admits a large number of Spanish-speaking patients responded to an online survey containing 23 Likert-type questions and 4 open-ended questions.

Findings: Despite survey results indicating a moderate to high level of cultural awareness, nurses expressed a need for tools and resources to provide equitable and safe care to LEP adults diagnosed with cancer. To improve the care of LEP patients, nurses suggested the use of resources such as an assigned unit interpreter, an increase in bilingual nursing staff, dual language materials, and free language lessons.

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