How Cultural Sensitivity Training Came To Be
The Cultural Sensitivity Training (CST) was developed in response to a growing need for better communication between foreign-born community members and the service providers who work with them.
Oftentimes, service providers like healthcare practitioners, school administrators, social workers, etc. are provided with translation tools like Language Line or live interpreters. However, providers don’t always receive training on the best practices for utilizing these tools, or training on how to navigate cultural differences with patients or clients.
We have heard firsthand accounts on a regular basis from the foreign-born adults in our programs about the challenges they experience trying to access services in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region.
We also have heard from other service providers—our community partners—about the obstacles they also face when working with foreign-born clientele. Our hope is that we can bridge this communication gap by providing professionals in the region with the tools and resources they need to provide equitable services to all, regardless of cultural background or language ability.
Why Cultural Sensitivity Training Is Important
A NICU nurse in New Hanover County that attended the training had a great reflection moment about how to incorporate some of the strategies into her work. She wanted to find a way to make it easier for their immigrant and refugee mothers to make simple requests and communicate more effectively with their nurses, without the need to call Language Line for every single request.
In her words, “finding a Kinyarwandan interpreter at 2 AM isn’t the easiest thing, and may not be necessary for a recovering mother who just needs help changing a diaper.”
During the capstone activity, the NICU nurse had several ideas for how to improve their bedside communication—for example, she decided to create a bedside chart to laminate and keep in each NICU room with a set of simple FAQ’s and requests in multiple languages. The simple chart would also include photos, to make it very easy for foreign-born mothers to point at images to let their nurses know what they need. The chart would also include a request for Language Line or a formal interpreter for more complex questions or concerns.
Who is Cultural Sensitivity Training for?
The training is ideally for healthcare workers, teachers, school administrators, social workers, etc.—virtually anyone that provides services or works with foreign-born clientele like refugees, asylum seekers, and other newcomers. That also includes members of social groups or houses of worship that work closely with newcomer families, particularly those coming from Ukraine, Afghanistan, or through refugee/asylum processes.
Cultural Sensitivity Training is helpful for everyone though, as we can all learn something new about how to support our fellow human beings.
What People Are Saying!
“I thoroughly enjoyed learning how much brain power is used when learning a new language and the process of switching from left to right brain. It made me realize the importance of patience.”
“I thought the networking was impactful too because many organizations were present.”
“I enjoyed this seminar very much and felt that the instructor had a lot of knowledge and experience. I particularly enjoyed the part where the instructor told a story in Swahili to demonstrate how we all resort to the same strategies in order to make sense out of unintelligible speech: we pay attention to tone of voice, mimic, gesture, repetition, and any words that sound familiar.”
“This was a good introductory conversation. Maybe the next one can include opportunities to practice using the tools available --like Google translate or a live translator (in a simulated conversation).”
“I really liked the guidance given for working with translators.”
“I like the point mentioned about slowing down and respecting the silence. I think it's important to understand that it's okay to allow the other person process what has been said and think about it in their native language.”
“I really enjoyed the small group that participated, and felt like it led to more discussion. In fact, the stories and experiences shared by the participants were my favorite part of the training.”
“I can’t wait for more cultural training programs!”
“Nothing to suggest, it was very informative.”
Anyone who would like to join is welcome to do so! We work with small groups and large organizations. Please check out our website at www.ihclt.org/ for more information or email us at email@example.com to learn more.