Levels of Cultural Intelligence

by Angela Richard-Eaglin, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, CDE

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    00:06 There are several different levels and benefits of CQ, I say several but 3 levels of CQ; low, moderate, and high. Our goal is to at least try to maintain a steady state of moderate, but we will definitely vacillate among the 3 depending on the context because we're human. So with low CQ, typically people react to external stimuli, to what they see and what they hear when they get into a new cultural situation.

    00:32 And lots of times you shut down if whatever you see or hear is not something that's comfortable for you. Then we tend to make judgments that's why our bias shows up based on our own cultural context and perspective. So I'm judging it might just be in my head but when I let that manifest itself in terms of my behaviors, there's a problem. Again, with low CQ, that's that tunnel vision or myopia, cultural differences are either ignored or seen as a relevant because we go back to our ethnocentric spaces and think what we believe is right and true in the best way in the norm. With moderate CQ, people have some recognition of cultural norms and they accommodate those into what we think and how we behave, but you're not fully there yet but it's good because we're a work in progress and if we know we have some then I realize "Okay, that's a gap there, that's one of those things that I wanna work on in my transformational journey." And then I'm also more motivated to learn about cultural differences but I still might want to focus on those commonalities. Why? Because that's where I'm comfortable, in that space so I know I need to work on being in situations and around people that I may not be as comfortable with so I can learn more about them and get in to a space of comfort and develop that sense of understanding. With high CQ, then we tend to adapt and adjust our thoughts based on cultural norms as needed, so prn. I'm going to adjust. Again, I'm not going to change who I am, but I'm going to be flexible in what I think I'm going to try to understand somebody else's perspective and live the experience and determine how I can move forward in my relationship in having healthy relationships. And that is with my co-workers, that is with patients, communities, it helps me to engage more when I'm understanding why people function the way they do, why do you live the way you live. With high CQ, you also focus on those cultural differences. Why? Because it drives innovation and effectiveness. And I'm going to talk about "I love this story." So, I eat, breed, live, and sleep this stuff and I'm always thinking of ways to help other people to internalize it." So when I was in nursing school, pre-nursing as a matter of fact, one of my instructors used to always always quote Aristotle "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." And he said it so much it used to aggravate me. Got out of nursing school, I forgot about it. Fast forward, almost 30 years later that comes to me 1 night and I'm like "Hmm." So if we think about ourselves as puzzle pieces, each one of us is completely unique and different, every single human being. But guess what? We put the puzzle together and it creates something new and different. That is innovation. Right? We'd never thought it was possible, these things are different. How do they fit together? But they do. So just thinking about that in terms of being a human being even though we're different we can drive some innovative things and I also like to say "You know I think I'm pretty brilliant. I come up with this idea. This is great." But then I work in a group and somebody else says "Well, what about this?" I'm like "Oh wow." My idea just went from great to extraordinary and I'm so impressed because when we think based on our own experiences and based on our educational levels or different things like "Wow, we bring something unique and different to the table that makes that great idea an extraordinary idea." Then with high CQ, we also develop the ability to subconsciously into relating those different cultures. So what does that mean? It means that now I'm not focusing so much because I've done it so much, I've practiced it, practice they say makes perfect. But in some situations it will because now I truly understand when I go from med surg to ICU I understand there are something different there and I've been there before so I know how to adapt but I'm not just going to go on that unit and jumping and start doing things, I'm still going to meet up with the charge nurse or whoever I do need to meet up with because just because I've been there before and I mention that again, this is a different time, different patients. I'm working with different nurses, maybe some policies have changed so I need to do a check-in before I just jump in and start doing things. Then with high CQ, you also realize that there is diversity within cultures. And I kind of talked about that earlier when I talked about siblings. You're in the same house but you're unique individuals like those puzzle pieces I talked about. So, in general, we are raised with the same values and rules but as individuals we adapt our own ways. Right? We might know that we're not supposed to do x, y, z but I want to go against the grain. And so just because one of my siblings might do some things, I don't want to say will that whole family is x, y, z or one of my parents, whoever it is, a cousin but that's how we label people. Or in terms of organizations you go to a healthcare facility and you have a bad experience. We label that whole facility as bad sometimes. So we need to be careful of that too and you also need to be careful of how you show up because patients will spread the word when you think about your circle of influence.

    06:02 That's from a good thing and a bad experience, so, either way. If we employ the emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence concepts, then we're less likely to perpetuate bad experiences. The other thing is that people with high CQ recognize the need to maintain that interest. So I can be interested just for this global mission trip I might be going on. I need to maintain it so every time I'm in a situation that's a multicultural interaction I need to plan for it. You expand your understanding of cultural differences. So, let's say you decide you want to go work on a reservation. I need to understand everything about that reservation and make sure that when there are things I don't understand, I need to communicate and respect people in their spaces and not try to make them conform to my norms.

    06:59 And that's in any space, but that was just an example. You plan ahead for multicultural interactions, but you're going to treat each encounter as unique. I gave the example of you might get pulled to ICU every month, every other week but each time you go don't get too comfortable because you need to find out if there's anything new since the last time you were there. Same thing if you go on a global mission trip, same thing if you have cared for this patient and then they come back 6 months later and you think you know him because you took care of him. No.

    07:32 This is a different encounter, a different experience, make sure you have those conversations and partner with your patient and the family. And be flexible across all cultural situations and interactions.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Levels of Cultural Intelligence by Angela Richard-Eaglin, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, CDE is from the course Cultural Intelligence.

    Author of lecture Levels of Cultural Intelligence

     Angela Richard-Eaglin, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, CDE

    Angela Richard-Eaglin, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, CDE

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