According to Andrews & Boyle, writers of the "Transcultural Concepts in Nursing," cross-cultural communication includes the need for nurses to interact with patients and families from diverse cultural backgrounds. These communication factors include: eye contact, touch, silence, space, distance, and healthcare beliefs.
In addition, nurses need to understand their own cultural values, attitudes, beliefs, and practices they have acquired from their own families before learning about other cultures. An effective nurse will learn to recognize their own prejudices to avoid stereotyping and discrimination, and/or jeopardizing the nurses' ability to learn and accept different cultural beliefs and practices especially in health-related issues. .
Additionally, according to Andrews & Boyle (2012), cross-cultural communication involves several aspects that must be understood by a nurse in order to achieve the cultural competency necessary to provide optimal nursing care. Oral, written, and nonverbal communication play vital roles in conveying messages and these vary considerably among different cultures. Understanding these communication cues and their meanings to persons of different cultures is vital for nurses to attain and maintain cultural competency. Many qualitative studies have shown that communication problems were major reasons nurses were unable to provide culturally competent nursing care (Boi, 2000, Cioffi, 2003). .
In the qualitative studies, nurses reported they were uncomfortable with patients from cultures other than their own; mostly due to language barriers, both verbal and nonverbal communication. The outcome of these studies shows that most nurses would readily accept education and training in transcultural communication skills in order to provide effective care for all their patients. .
In my nursing practice, I use a basic approach with cross-cultural communication: .