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Cultural and Health Literacy Assessment of the Hispanic/Latino Patient Population: Presentation of a Cultural Competence Toolkit for Acute Care Nurses

Background: Barriers to effective communication, such as low health literacy, language, and cultural differences, play a role in the health disparities that affect the Hispanic/Latino population. These barriers have generally been considered in isolation; interventions designed to overcome low health literacy have typically been separate from those focused on decreasing cultural and linguistic barriers. Nurses must understand that culture and language establish the framework for the attainment of health literacy skills, and strive to work within the cultural context of the patient. Methods: Best practices for cultural and health literacy assessment and culturally appropriate nursing interventions were used to develop a Cultural Competence Training Toolkit which was presented to a group of nurses (N = 12). Effectiveness was measured through pre-and post-intervention evaluation of cultural competence using the Inventory for Assessing the Process of Cultural Competence among Healthcare Professionals- Revised. Objectives: 1) Explore the relationship between health literacy, cultural competence, and nursing practice; 2) Describe a cultural competence model that can be used as a framework for nursing practice; 3) Develop and evaluate a Cultural Competence Training Toolkit for acute care nurses. Outcomes: Statistically significant improvements were noted in overall cultural competence (12.25 points) as well as all sub-scale scores (desire: 2.42 points; awareness: 2.75 points; knowledge: 2.08 points; skills: 2.91 points; and encounters: 2.09 points) from baseline to post-test (p < .001). Conclusion: Cultural competence training may lead to improvements in providers’ awareness, knowledge, skills, encounters and desire to learn about the specialized needs of the Hispanic/Latino population.