Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Lisa Kiesel


Social Work


The purpose of this research study is to gain a better understanding of the importance of implementing cultural competency when working in medical settings with the older adult population. This is a qualitative exploratory study. To complete this study, six semi-structured interviews were completed with licensed social workers who are working in a medical setting and also have experience working with the older adult population. All LSW’s and LGSW’s who participated in this study currently work in the Twin Cities area. The researcher completed a brief literature analysis related to the impact of cultural competency within medical settings when working with the older adult population. The literature displayed how cultural competency improved working relationships between social workers, clients, and family members improved the level of care provided to clients, as well as types of cultural competency training and how it can be implemented to create a more client-centered approach to treatment plans and care needs. Through the analysis of six semi-structured interviews, six themes emerged. These themes include: cultural competence learned through personal firsthand experience or CEU training, the importance of education, importance of acknowledging client’s values and beliefs, promotion of cultural competency resources, improving the working relationships, and higher satisfaction rates. The research implies that cultural competency is an important factor in providing care to clients. There seems to be a need for more training related to culture for social workers in the field. By implementing cultural competency when working with clients we honor the social work values and in turn will create an overall better experience for clients.

Included in

Social Work Commons