To be culturally competent is to make a commitment to expand one's knowledge and understanding of a culture with the purpose of acceptance and awareness. Being culturally competent allows one to appropriately provide any service to any client. In the health care service industry, the goal of cultural competency is to provide the highest quality of care to every patient. The need for this is crucial in clinical trials, for it helps develop a more trusting relationship and safe environment for the participant/subject.
So how can a researcher ensure they are maintaining cultural competency while conducting their clinical trial? The first step is to become aware and accepting of the differences within cultures. For example, there may be differences regarding physical distance, physical contact, volume of voice, and eye contact. The researcher should always be aware of the dynamics of differences between themselves and the patient/subjects. There is also always a possibility of differences in patterns of communication, problem solving, and etiquette. Alongside this, one must value the diversity of their clinical trial. This includes a respect for the different cultures and an appreciation for the range of backgrounds their patients/subjects possess.
When surrounded by different cultures, it is important to be educated on all of the possible differences. This entails a major responsibility of the researcher to understand the patients/subjects culture and to share this knowledge with all staff members. To be done properly, training should be provided to all staff members. This will increase cultural awareness, competency, knowledge, and skills. With the possible broad range of diversity a trial can possess, researchers should be aware of the need for adaptations and accommodations their patients/subjects require. In the end, an increase in cultural competency has the potential to increase patient recruitment and study outcome by promoting a more safe environment and effective relationship.