Culturally Sensitive Care

Providing culturally safe and sensitive care is an important component of patient-centered care. It is care that meets the social and cultural needs of diverse patient populations.   

An essential first step before learning about other cultures is an awareness of one’s own beliefs, biases, values and cultural practices. This self-understanding and reflection will support you in creating a practice environment that is sensitive and adaptive to patients' cultural differences.[1]

Part of our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is to strengthen nurse’s awareness and competence of culturally safe and sensitive care. This includes integrating accountabilities that incorporates the Ontario Human Rights Code and recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report into our entry-level competencies and nursing practice standards and guidelines.   

The journey to understanding diversity, equity and inclusion to support culturally safe and sensitive care, is one of learning and unlearning. We encourage nurses to reflect on where they are at in their journey, identifying learning needs and take steps to support their learning or unlearning to make long-term changes.

What’s next on our journey

CNO is currently working to modernize its practice standards to reflect the evolving health care needs of patients. Part of this work is to ensure modern standards reflect the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion.  There will be opportunities for input in the development of culturally safe and sensitive care accountabilities.

Here are some resources that can help in this journey of learning and unlearning. CNO will continue to add to this collection as additional resources become available.

Other resources

[1] Brooks, L. A., Manias, E., & Bloomer, M. J. (2018, October 12). Culturally sensitive communication in healthcare: A concept analysis. Collegian. Retrieved March 14, 2022, from


Page last reviewed March 30, 2022