Successful Patient-Doctor Relationships with the Arab Culture
Many people have seen the increase of immigrants coming to the United States. “Census 2000 measured a U.S. population of 281.4 million, including 1.2 million who reported and Arab ancestry” (de la Cruz and Brittingham, 2000). Arab Americans are those people who speak or are descendents of Arabic-speaking populations. As doctors and caregivers continue to provide care to those that speak English, communication between them is easy. But when this simple task is changed when there is a patient from a different culture, it produces challenges that both parties have to overcome. Doctors and caregivers have to increase their cultural awareness and sensitivity so that there is a good relationship between the caregiver and the patient. This paper examines how Arabs are different than other foreign groups because of their ethnic, cultural and religious beliefs and what the caregiver can do to produce a successful cross-cultural caregiver-patient relationship.
There are various methods for a successful cross-cultural relationship between the caregiver-patient. As the caregiver, be sure to “use a title and the patient’s first name when addressing” (Meleis, 2005 pg. 43). Also ask what they prefer to be called. Next, “say something personal about the patient, the patient’s family, or the patient’s country of origin” (Salimbene, 2000 pg. 121). An example of this would be acknowledging the patient and his/her culture rather than acknowledging them as a “Middle Eastern”. It is important to personalize your relationship with the patient because affiliation is a key social need (Salimbene et al., 2000 pg. 121). Arabs often see strangers as “outsiders”; therefore, the patient will not trust the caregiver (Salimbene et al., 2000 pg. 122). Lastly, try to share some information about yourself with the patient so the patient sees you as someone they can trust. Arabs have a tendency to “wonder why the physician cannot...
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