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In healthcare, cultural competence is often combined with cultural sensitivity to define how professionals interact with people from diverse backgrounds. Although both terms are meant to be respectful and aware of cultural differences they can have different meanings. Cultural competence is the ability to understand and appreciate different cultures. It also includes understanding how culture influences healthcare decisions in a particular setting. Cultural sensitivity, on the other hand is more specific to being aware of potential biases and assumptions when interfacing with people from different backgrounds.
Healthcare providers must be sensitive to the cultural differences of their patients in order to offer quality care. It is important to recognize power dynamics among people from different cultures and language barriers. This can make everyone feel valued and respected regardless of where they come from, which will ultimately lead to improved patient outcomes.