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Cross cultural capabilities

cross cultural capabilities

Multicultural Ribbons Graphic
  Cross Cultural Learning and Development Strategy 2009-2012
  Culturally competent staff
  Queensland Health cross cultural training packages

Queensland Health has identified five Cross Cultural Capabilities that staff need to be culturally competent.  The five Cross Cultural Capabilities are identified as:

These capabilities underpin and form the basis of all cross cultural learning and development activities in Queensland Health.


A staff member capable of self-reflection should be able to:

  • consider what their own culture is and how they feel about different cultural beliefs and values
  • demonstrate a complex understanding of culture
  • conduct a cultural self-assessment to identify their own culture, and position their cultural beliefs again that of the health system
  • conduct an assessment of the organisational and professional cultures to which they belong.

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Cultural understanding

A staff member capable of cultural understanding should be able to:

  • gain a better understanding of culture, and potential cultural differences
  • conduct a client cultural assessment to determine and accommodate different needs
  • elicit client explanatory models for health and respond appropriately
  • understand different consumer behaviours may be influenced by culture
  • employ self-reflection to explore differences and similarities across cultures.

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A staff member capable of context should be able to:

  • acknowledge and consider the range of social and economic factors that may impact on consumers(with culture sometimes not being the most important eg. transport, food)
  • understand the impact of migration and exile on individuals
  • consider the interplay of other individual factors such as gender, sexuality and age on identity
  • understand that individuals may not identify with their own culture, or that of their parents, and many individuals within Australia consider themselves bicultural
  • understand there are differences within cultures

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A staff member capable of communication should be able to:

  • be sensitive and adaptive to varying cultural norms in relation to verbal and non-verbal communication
  • communicate effectively across cultures
  • be aware of, and overcome, potential barriers to effective cross-cultural communication
  • deliver information in culturally appropriate and targeted ways
  • avoid making assumptions or judgements about individuals based on their communication style
  • assess the need for an interpreter and ability to work effectively with interpreters.

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A staff member capable of collaboration should be able to:

  • build trust and relationships with individuals across cultures
  • work towards consensus with individuals and families from diverse backgrounds
  • involve culturally diverse clients in decision-making processes and collaborative care
  • conduct community consultation and engagement
  • work across disciplines to provide appropriate care
  • facilitate linkages with community organisations and other agencies including development of referral pathways
  • be skilled at establishing formal and informal collaborative networks
  • value and facilitate the exchange of information across health and other disciplines.

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Related documents

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Last updated: 8 October 2013

What's new?

Queensland Health Guideline for multicultural policy implementation
A guideline to assist Hospital and Health Services and Queensland Health to implement the Queensland Multicultural Policy - A multicultural future for all of us effectively.

Health Care Providers' Handbook on Sikh Patients
Aquick-reference tool for health workers to use when caring for Sikh patients. The handbook aims to help health workers understand the religious beliefs and practices of Sikhs that can affect health care.

Health Care Providers' Handbook on Hindu Patients
A quick-reference tool for health workers to use when caring for Hindu patients. The handbook aims to help health workers understand the religious beliefs and practices of Hindus that can affect health care.

Community profiles for health care providers
A series of 18 cultural profiles that aim to assist health care providers to better understand the health beliefs, pre-migration experiences, communication preferences and other aspects of their clients' culture.

Death and hospitalisation rates by country of birth in Queensland

Cross Cultural Learning and Development Calendar 2012
A calendar which contains the dates for all Queensland Health cross cultural learning and development training courses for 2012.

Complaints about health or other services

Do you have concerns about a government or non-government health service or are you unhappy with the way an issue has been handled? Do you think you have been treated unfairly or are you concerned about a decision or action of a health professional?

It is ok to complain, and there are organisations that are independent of the government that can help you, free of charge.

Go to the Queensland Independent Complaint Agencies' website for more information.