Then, it doesn’t matter where they come from” : Cultural Competence and its Construction among Public Health Nurses and Students in Maternal and Child Health Clinics in the Province of Eastern Finland

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Internationell mödra- och barnhälsovård (IMCH)


BACKGROUND Public Health Nurses (PHNs) in the Province of Eastern Finland are facing a new situation when the families attending maternal and child health (MCH) services represent increasingly diverting cultural backgrounds. Cultural competency is a part of PHNs’ qualification demands in Finland, however little is known on the phenomenon in the study area at the moment.

AIM This study aims to describe how cultural competence is understood and constructed among PHNs and PHN students working and training in the MCH clinics in the Province of Eastern Finland.

METHODS Qualitative design was employed. Data were collected in five semi-structured individual interviews and two focus group discussions conducted in Finnish by author. Data were audio-recorder, transcribed and analysed through qualitative content analysis (QCA). Translation to English took place during the QCA process. The total number of participants was 15.

FINDINGS The participants perceived culture as a multi-dimensional phenomenon, and that specific skills are needed when meeting clients from different cultures. Cultural competence in this sample refers to a four-staged process which is highly affected by social processes and interaction between the PHNs, students, clients and other stakeholders in MCH care and community.

CONCLUSION This study can serve as an explanatory material to fill the knowledge-gap between the previously published theoretical studies on cultural competence and the grass-root level MCH work. The findings represent perceptions and experiences of highly educated, native Finnish sample working in a relatively rural province, and thus their transferability should be viewed with criticism.

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