Australia is an example of such a country that has experienced cultural diversity which has had immense impact on both professional and personal lives of healthcare professionals, critically affecting service delivery. In order for podiatrists, and indeed all the healthcare professionals in general, to deliver healthcare to the desired levels, cultural diversity should be put into consideration in practice, promoting a culturally safe environment and acquire cultural competence.
In basic terms, culture describes an assortment of beliefs and behaviours to which a particular group ascribes and passes on from one generation to another. Adler (2004) defines equity as trait of fairness and impartiality; diversity as an array of various things; and competence as a suitable application of attributes and knowledge through the actions and behaviours of an individual. As such, cultural competence could be defined as the possession of attributes and knowledge that foster understanding of a wide array of beliefs and behaviours of diverse groups of people and applying it equitably. For healthcare professionals, including podiatrists, to attain cultural competence, Betancourt (2002) argues that they would have to exhibit attributes and behaviours that would promote their ability to effectively work with people from diverse cultures.
i. Value diversity and accept cultural differences - The element of valuing diversity and accepting cultural differences requires one to keep an open mind to the environment and view each situations without bias. It should be appreciated that in any given environment, each person is different and would therefore have unique values and beliefs.
ii. Possess cultural self-assessment capacity and an understanding of own culture – Cultural self-assessment capacity and understanding own culture implies the need to be able to critically comprehend one’s belief system. This requires unbiased approach