This article will explore how emotional intelligence can help foster cultural competence in a globalized world.
This article will explore how emotional intelligence can help foster cultural competence in a globalized world.

This article will explore how emotional intelligence can help foster cultural competence in a globalized world.

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  • Pages: 10 (2479 words)
  • Published: April 16, 2022
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The Relationship Between Cultural Competence and Emotional Intelligence

Technological advancements of the 21st century have eliminated the boundaries that previously segregated communities into specific geographical localities resulting in what is referred to as globalization. Even though internationalization is beneficial as evidenced by the impacts it has on nations’ economies, it also has its downside in the healthcare systems. Prior to extensive cross-border movements, societies formulated systems that could best serve their needs and they worked. For instance, the US healthcare system was designed specifically to serve the native population; however, globalization has resulted in the issue of inclusivity which is destruction to the traditional framework. Failure of the system to adapt to the needs of a diversified population has led to ethnic and social health disparities. For this reason, there was an urgency of the sys


tem to shift from the rigid and biased structure to a more adaptive and inclusive setup which is called the culturally competent health care system (Health Policy Institute, 2004). Today the United States health department’s primary goal is to eradicate the disparities that exist in health care by establishing a system that will serve the entire population equally. Such a structure need to be sensitive to the different cultures and offer quality services to every person regardless of aspects such as socioeconomic status, limited English proficiency and language barriers among others (Bougie, 2013). Most scholars believe that the move towards an inclusive system is the only practical approach to reducing health disparities in our society (Agency of Healthcare Care Program, 2014).

According to Herrick (2013) emotional intelligence (EQ) is personal attribution that allows one to effectively blend feelings, thoughts and decision making.

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Such a quality allows a person to exercise emotional control, respond to a situation accurately which ensures that meaningful decisions are made. Originally, EQ was used in the word of business as experts established a positive correlation between certain social and emotional behaviours and increased productivity in an organizational setup. Even though the ideology was widely accepted, it took several decades before health care started establishing its applicability in a move towards achieving a patient-centered system (Warren, 2013). EQ is a crucial management skill that focuses on the competencies of Intra and interpersonal skills that enable one to have an in-depth understanding and control of his or her feelings under any given circumstance. Such qualities ensure that positive relations are maintained; this, in turn, allows all the involved parties to rationally resolve a matter leading to a positive outcome (Freshman & Rubino, 2002). Herrick (2013) explains that for transformation to attain positive results there must be collaboration a feature that can only be achieved with EQ. From a medical field perspective, EQ is the only quality that merges the medical profession and the patient's needs. Studies have illustrated that the government healthcare can only win publics’ trust if practitioners master the EQ skill (Knight et al, 2015). This finding could be attributed to the fact that emotional intelligence merges all the important components which are professionalism in communication, an illustration of empathy, promotion of a sustainable lifestyle and obtaining of patient’s compliance (Johnson, 2016).
Yodhimura (2002) recognizes the importance of awareness which aids positive change in perception concerning foreign cultural norms. He elaborates this concept by pointing out the interrelationship between emotional intelligence, cultural awareness and

cultural intelligence. This connection can be illustrated well by viewing the latter component as an amalgamation of the two, that is, an addition of cultural awareness and EQ results in cultural intelligence. Therefore, removal of one element results in a gap in the equation. As previously mentioned a culturally competent system is inclusive of all cultures resulting inequity in health care provision (Bougie, 2013). It is impossible to attain cultural competence without being exposed to other cultures and gaining awareness that helps one clarify the traditional misconceptions and gain a positive perception towards other communities (Yoshimura, 2002). But it is important to note that a person has to understand him/herself first before it can be translated to others. Therefore, it would be partly correct to say that EQ results in cultural intelligence which in turn paves way for cultural competence. According to Crowne (2013) exposure positively impacts cultural intelligence but not emotional intelligence which implies a possibility of being able to challenge the unconscious racial and ethnic patterns without necessarily having a complete understanding of one’s self.

Indicators of a Lack of Cultural Competence and Emotional Intelligence in the American Healthcare System

Statistics indicate that between 2003 and 2006, the federal government was forced to spend over $1.24 trillion in an attempt to reduce health disparities. In spite of the immense attempts, there is sufficient evidence indicating the widening of health care gaps between the minor and the major populations (Bougie, 2013). Other studies on the same subject illustrate that one person out of five Americans is affected by language barrier when trying to access medical attention. The figure rises to 33 percent among Hispanic communities and

27 percent among Asian Americans (Johnson et al, 2004). As much as the American health care providers are striving to attain an inclusive program, the old reputation seems to be crippling their efforts. A study carried out by Sorkin, Ngo-Metzger and De (Anramson, Hashemi, & Sanchez-Jackowski, 2015) indicate that the ethnic or racial minority communities have a negative perception of health care quality that is available for them. In other words, minority groups have the mentality that the health care system is biased because their needs are not as important as that of the larger population.

According to reports of the Health Policy Institute (2004) ethnic and racial minorities are more prevalent to chronic diseases compared to majorities. The high morbidity and mortality rate can be attributed to factors ranging from low socioeconomic status to activity limitations such as language and cultural barriers. Considering the seven most common chronic conditions, that is, heart disease, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, depression/anxiety and cancer- A greater proportion of blacks and latinos women are likely to suffer from these illnesses after hitting 65 years compared to white women. Statistically speaking the risk rate of blacks is about 77 percent and that of nations 68 percent and lastly the whites are at a 64 percent risk rate (Writters & Wood , 2016). Rational examination of this matter means carrying out extensive genetic research, formulate better systems for drug testing and improving health education. The three aspects can be summarized as the adoption of a patient-centred system where all health care operations are tailored to the needs of the entire population which means the elimination of health disparities (DeNoon, 2016).

Kam (2016) uses a real-life example where she demonstrates how multiple generations of a single African Americans have died from hearing diseases. It is obvious that such a case can only be explained by genetics which is a natural phenomenon. However, the government can be blamed for the suffering as it has the role in reducing this suffering by availing quality healthcare and improving citizen's lifestyles.

A patient-centered care is not only about replacing the rigid and prejudiced system with a more adaptive and inclusive structure as its primary focus is on the establishment of positive relations among practitioners and the general public. Even though the journey towards quality health care begins with research and training, behaviours have a considerable impact on the kind of outcome that would be achieved (Warren, 2013). The players in the American healthcare system seem to be converting it into some sort of corporate organization whereby the involved parties are striving to make profits at the expense of the public. Each day the healthcare environment is becoming more complicated as access to medical care gets expensive, over-emphasis on hospital performance metrics and the merger between healthcare and business (Cherry, 2011). Such a situation does not favor application of emotional intelligence as the focus is shifted on making profits; this explains the careless mistakes that medics make which are often fatal.

Benefits of Cultural Competence and Emotional Intelligence in the Healthcare System

Betancourt, Green, and Carrillo (2002) explain that although experimental studies have failed to find concepts that clearly establish connections between cultural competence/emotional intelligence and reduction of the health disparities, experts believe that it is practical. Given the sensitivity of the medical environment,

physicians need to be good listeners because a lapse can result in a tragedy that could have been avoided. Psychologists have illustrated that the ability to remain calm and listen even when subjected to intense pressure can only be achieved by people who are emotionally intelligent. This ability enables a person to be empathetic to a patient which forces them to strive to offer the best service (Bruce, 2015). According to Taft (2016), emotional intelligence is one of the qualifications in the nursing profession. A nurse should always be able to control his or her emotion regardless of the prevailing circumstances and express the right emotions that benefit the patient. Since nurses spent a considerable amount of time with patients especially in patients, they should always be able to convey compassion, understanding, and concern. Although aspects such as cultural competence and emotional intelligence are considered to be personal attributes their predictability depends on the workplace environment that is created by the type of leadership. A leader who is capable of restraining emotions and looking at a problem from a rational point of view creates an environment that fosters positive interaction which in turn motivates the staff to work towards achieving a common goal (Cherry, 2011).

Problem Statement

Imagine a place where anyone can access medical care and be assured of quality services regardless of his/her socioeconomic status, linguistic capabilities and culture. Such an environment would be characterized by trust between physicians and the general public which encourages further research in the medical field. Just like the business world is evolving each day medical field will also adopt this pace resulting in an ever improving healthcare. However, this

is not the situation in the US today as the nation is still struggling with the issue of health disparities. The issue is not new as it presented itself over forty years ago when the country was trying to integrate the multiple communities. At the time, formulation of policies that allowed the different racial and ethnic groups to utilize the same facilities seemed to be the most agreeable solution to the matter as officials assumed that the system would somehow get assimilated by the diversified society. They were wrong as evidenced by the health gaps between the majority and minority populations. The only way this gap can be reduced is by adopting a new strategy that is based on Intra and interpersonal awareness that aids positive change in perception in addition to scientific research. It should be noted that it is impossible to attain positive results when one of the two components i.e. behaviour and research is ignored.

A focus on behavioural attributes that are summarized as emotional intelligence and cultural competence paves the way for medical advances which ultimately result in high-quality medical care. Therefore, we should focus on establishing a comprehensive healthcare setting with the discussed qualities as the underlying principles. Such a framework would ensure that all the operations are directed towards satisfying the needs of the patients. Furthermore, the system would be flexible enough to incorporate all the changes that come with inventions and innovation.


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