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Caring for Patients with Limited English Proficiency

Caring for Patients with Limited English Proficiency

Caring for Patients with Limited English Proficiency

Colleen Symanski-Sanders, RN, Forensic Nurse Specialist
Colleen Symanski-Sanders, RN, Forensic Nurse Specialist
on behalf of e-Ed Credits

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Launch date: 27 Sep 2017
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Last updated: 11 Jan 2018

Reference: 184846

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Immigration patterns are changing, no longer isolating immigrants to certain geographic locations. Cultural disparity in healthcare is a real concern and healthcare professionals need to respond. Nowhere is this as obvious, than at the bedside of care. Home Care Nurses function in the patient’s home where the patient’s culture is most obvious and within the next ten years, the population will grow significantly older and more diverse. Racial and ethnic minority elders will constitute a growing proportion of this group. The resident population of the United States is currently about 290 million. An estimated three out of ten U.S. Residents have an origin that is something other than Caucasian. About one million immigrants enter the United States annually, mostly of Latin American or Asian origin. By 2006, the Hispanic population will outnumber the black population and by 2030, one out of four residents will be either Hispanic or Asian. It is critical for home care nurses to be aware of the current and projected characteristics of this diverse population to prepare for addressing their changing needs into the future.

Though this is written with the home care nurse as the primary audience, the information supplied can also be implemented into a patient office or clinic setting.

Communication is a vital component of healthcare services. While many home care nurses have managed a culturally diverse patient care population, there is little on established outcomes to determine how effective that management has been. But research provides insight that healthcare has significant disparities for patients of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Clinicians/home care nurses must build skills that enhance communication such as being open, honest, respectful, nonjudgmental, and willing to listen and above all, be willing to learn. Cultural competence is a home care competency item. Home care nurses are ""culturally competent"" when they are able to provide care to diverse populations including patient’s with ""Limited English Proficiency"" (LEP) and can incorporate the patients values, beliefs, and behaviors and deliver care that meets the patients’ social, cultural, and linguistic needs. This does require self-evaluation of one’s own biases, beliefs, and stereotyping behaviors. Home Care nurses need to know state laws, Federal regulations, and practice within the scope and standards of Home Health Nursing.


Upon completion of this course, the learner will be able to:
1. Describe how the ethnic population of the United States will change in the next 25 years.

2. Explain how home care nurses can develop culturally appropriate verbal and non-verbal communication competency/skills.

3. Identify available options for selecting an interpreter and identify violations to patient federal and civil rights.

4. Incorporate new skills into their communication with patients and interpreters.
Colleen Symanski-Sanders, RN, Forensic Nurse Specialist

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Colleen Symanski-Sanders, RN, Forensic Nurse Specialist
on behalf of e-Ed Credits

Colleen Symanski-Sanders, RN, Forensic Nurse Specialist, has been a Registered Nurse for over 18 years. She has extended her education into forensic nursing, criminal profiling, and psychopathy receiving a Certificate as a Forensic Nurse Specialist. She has over 16 years experience in public health and home care nursing.

Colleen has been an author of educational material for St. Petersburg College, St. Petersburg, Florida. She has also lectured on a variety of topics at numerous nursing symposiums and conferences across the country. She is on the Editorial Board for "Home Health Aide Digest" and "Private Duty Homecare" publications.

Current Accreditations

This course has been certified by or provided by the following Certified Organization/s:

  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • 1.00 Hours

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