Beyond Silos: A Call to Include Hospital Support Staff in Cultural Competency Training


  • Ciara Sheehan Department of International Health, Governance and Leadership in European Public Health Master, Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands.
  • Estefanía Callejas De Luca
  • Hélène Marguerite Leon
  • Simon Boch



Cultural Competency, High-Quality Care, Hospital Support Staff.


Context: Patient populations are becoming more diverse. As a result, the “one-size fits all” approach to healthcare delivery is no longer sufficient. Today, quality of care is highly influenced by the cultural competency (CC) of healthcare providers (HCPs). HCPs, however, are not the only members of hospital staff who influence quality of care. Another group, hospital support staff (HSS), also play a critical role in the healthcare delivery process. Yet, HSS remain under-recognized and have been left out of hospital-led CC training.
Aim: This policy brief offers a novel perspective, advocating for the inclusion of HSS in hospital-led CC training, as it has been acknowledged by previous research that increasing the CC of healthcare staff is an appropriate strategy to improve the quality of care for patients.
Methods: To gain more insight, interviews and surveys were conducted (October 2022) among a group of HSS at the Ronald McDonald House (RDMH). These HSS include volunteers and managers who enable Family Centred Care (FCC) for Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+). A non-systematic literature review on the topic of cultural competency development was also conducted.
Results: To develop policy recommendations, options were first assessed using a pre-established framework for developing organisational CC by Castillo & Guo (10). In addition, a stakeholder analysis was completed. Together with the survey responses and interviews, this confirmed HSS, need and want to be culturally competent. These results feed into the development of policy recommendations.

Recommendations:Thus, three policy recommendations are made: (1) formalise CC training at MUMC+; (2) include HSS in such a CC training; and (3) develop and monitor training with Participatory Action Research (PAR).




How to Cite

Ciara Sheehan, Estefanía Callejas De Luca, Hélène Marguerite Leon, & Simon Boch. (2023). Beyond Silos: A Call to Include Hospital Support Staff in Cultural Competency Training. South Eastern European Journal of Public Health, 38–55.