Intercultural Communication in Healthcare

890 words 4 pages
Intercultural Communication in Healthcare

Intercultural Communication in Healthcare In a culture as diverse as the United States it is of utmost importance that individuals in settings such as the health care field learn to communicate with people from different cultures. This type of setting offers many chances for misunderstanding, miscommunication, and mistrust. It is imperative for the health care field to have an effective strategy to minimize these negative consequences of poor intercultural communication. One must also remember when implementing a communication strategy that there are many elements that effect the experience; cultural variations, personal dignity, and interpersonal relationships. An effective intercultural
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For example, a patient who comes into the hospital does not speak English. The patient can be scared, confused, worried, and anxious. If they are not able to understand the physician or explain their concerns or complaint to the physician or nurse, misunderstandings, confusion, and misdiagnosis can occur. If there is no bilingual staff member, an interpreter should be available to aid in translating for both the patient and physician. When a patient can understand the physicians and nurses questions about their situation and the patient can explain their signs and symptoms the interpersonal relationship is strengthened and trust can be created. By obtaining knowledge of other cultures beliefs, how they value medicine, beliefs about the cause and treatment of disease, and knowledge or availability to understand different languages the health care provider can create an atmosphere of trust with their patient. When treated with dignity, respect, and genuine concern, a patient from a different culture will be more likely to be more open with his or her provider, follow the physician’s follow-up instructions and care plan, and maintain a positive interpersonal relationship with their physician. According to Jordan (2009) “Cultural competence is key to the delivery of the highest


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