Prevent Implicit Bias in Patient Care With These Cultural Conversation Starters

March 03, 2022 by Jaime Weimer MSN, RN, AGCNS-BC, AOCNS®

Each clinical encounter with a patient brings together three different cultural perspectives ( the patient’s, the nurse’s, and health care’s own culture. Patient-centered care acknowledges and responds to the unique needs and preferences of each patient in the context of their culture. As we approach our patients with respect, humility, and curiosity to learn more, we must ask questions to help prevent assumptions, generalizations, and implicit bias from influencing our interactions.

Carrillo et al. identified ( five core cross-cultural areas that healthcare providers should explore with their patients. Here are some suggested questions and conversation starters to facilitate understanding.

Communication Styles


Decision-Making and Family Dynamics

Traditions, Customs, and Spirituality

Sexual Health and Gender

Identifying and exploring those core cross-cultural issues will better position nurses to successfully establish and maintain a therapeutic relationship with their patients by incorporating meaningful aspects of each patient’s culture into their plan of care.

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