Professional Communication: Cultural Sensitivity
Grand Canyon University: NUR 502
March 30, 2018
For week 2 assignment, we were asked to find an article, regarding a select cultural group and write about their cultural values and the way they communicate. I believe the purpose of this assignment, is to remind healthcare workers, not all patients communicate the same. Healthcare providers need to be mindful, in how we communicate with our patients of different cultures. According to our textbook the Authors indicate, the nursing assessment, interventions, and plan of care can only be effective if the nurse takes into account cultural influences. Remember to include appropriate resources when necessary “to enable proficient and uncompromising care” (Barker & DeNisco, 2016).
Every day we are seeing an increase in the diversity of the patients we care for. Because of the fast growing, population, most healthcare facility understand the need to keep their staff educated in cultural sensitivity. The cultural sensitivity class is taught in nearly all the hospitals today. This class is mandatory for all new hires during their orientation process and yearly thereafter.
According to my selected article, “Successful communication between healthcare providers and their patients from different cultural backgrounds depends on developing awareness of the normative cultural values of patients and how these differ from the cultural values of most western medical professionals”. (Cultural Values of Asian Patients and Families …, n.d.)
There are many cultural groups to choose from, I choose the Asian population. The Asian population peeked my interest, when I discovered there were multiple ethnicities within this group. This discovery came about while I was at work and I got a new patient to admit. I was very surprised during the admission process, I asked the patient “what is your ethnicities” and they responded Asian. Due to my lack of knowledge, I always thought that Asians were only Korean or Chinese. It’s during the admission process that we learn the most about our patients.
In this essay, I hope to capture the most important information regarding professional communication and the cultural sensitivity of the Asian population. I am most excited about educating myself about the different types of ethnicities of the Asian population.
After reading the article, I learned that the Asian population extends through three general groups. So, who makes up the Asian population? According to the article, the Asian community consist of; (1) Pacific Islanders, mostly Hawaiians, Samoans, and Guamanians; (2) Southeast Asians, largely comprised of Indochinese from Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Burmese and Philippinos; and (3) East Asians, including Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (Trueba, Cheng, ; Ima 1993). Each of these communities differs in socio-cultural traits, as do the subgroups within each. That said, people belonging to “Asian” cultures are accustomed to distinct communication norms that are significantly different from those of native born Americans and other immigrants. To better understand how we will use culture-based generalizations to learn about Asian cultures in this article, please review our newsletter contrasting culture-based generalizations and stereotypes. (Cultural Values of Asian Patients and Families …, n.d.).
Summary of Article
This article was written by Marcia Carteret in October of 2012. The purpose of this article was to show how the Asian population communicate within their culture. After reading, I found that this article painted a vivid picture of the Asian population and the different ethnicities within this group.
While reading the article, I learned that the Asians culture presents a strong family connection. Within the Asian population, loyalty amongst the family members, is a must and any disgrace to self of or the family will not be tolerated. The elders of the family are most important and even in death, the Asian population are taught not to display strong emotions of grief or pain.
The article will also speak of how the Asians, communicate within their culture. The writer of this article will have you to believe that the Asians likes to keep peace with the people. The Asian cultures tend to do most of their communication by use of body language, gestures, eye contact, pitch, intonation and sometimes in silence which is also an important form of communicating.
The article will point out how the Asian patients communicate within the healthcare setting. When speaking with this cultural group, Healthcare providers must not assume that they understand every word spoken. The article states that Asians will often nod their head and even smile, but these gestures will be a display of shame and or confusion. Healthcare providers must make for certain that the Asian population understands the information regarding their healthcare. Encourage this population of people, including children, to ask clarifying question as proof of their understanding.
Most Asian live by the statement (what’s meant to be, will be). For those of us who know very little about the Asian population, we may find it strange, that most Asian don’t cry at the death of their family members. The Asian population deals with death and sickness in a different way than most cultural groups. The Asian also have a different belief about time because they are used to multi-tasking their day.
Application to Practice
In practice, healthcare providers must remember that good communication/observation skills are key to treating Asian patients. We must put into practice, the knowledge learned about the Asian culture. Whenever you suspect there may be a language barrier between the patient and the healthcare providers, you should always seek to use an interpreter.
The next time I encounter an Asian patient, I will remember some very helpful tips I learned from reading this article. Tips to remember: Make for sure the patient understands what I’m asking or saying. Don’t assume that they understand just because they are smiling or head-nodding. Observe for any signs of confusion or resistance to treatment offered. Don’t ask questions in a way that requires a yes or no answer. Pay attention to nonverbal gestures. Don’t forget that the Asian population make decision regarding care as a family. You must build trust with this population of people. Be sure to address any concerns the patient/family may have and offer concrete advice.
Healthcare providers have an obligation to treat everyone fair no matter what their cultural background may be. Our textbook mention that “achieving cultural competence suggests, possession of the ability to respond effectively To The cultural needs of our patents” (Baker ; DeNisco, 2016). When there is a breakdown in cultural differences and a misunderstanding take place, positive outcomes become greatly reduced.
This misunderstanding can lead to a delay in care, increase in non-compliance and a decrease in patient satisfaction. To obtain the most information from our patients we must be culturally sensitive to the culture values surround the patient ethnicities. Trying to meet the needs, of every culture we encounter as healthcare providers, can be nearly if not impossible. But for the Asian community, this may be the only way of reducing the breakdown in Professional Communication and Cultural Sensitivity.
Carteret, Marcia. “Cultural Values of Asian Patients and Families.” Dimensions of Culture, 21 Oct. 2010, www.dimensionsofculture.com/2010/10/cultural-values-of-asian-patients-and-families/.
Barker, A. M., ; DeNisco, S. M. (2016). Advanced practice nursing: Essential Knowledge for the Profession (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Jones ; Bartlett. ISBN-13: 9781284072570