June 30, 2014
Imagine a world with no communication. No way to express feelings of anger or joy, no longer waving goodbye as someone leaves, communicating via email, text or pen never existed. The mere thought is absurd. Communicating is key to success in most any situation, whether it is in the work place, personal life or everyday tasks. The basic elements of communication and how they differ from the basic rules of healthcare communication are covered in this paper. Cultural differences and how they influence communication, as well as how healthcare providers might encourage their patients to be more open and honest about their health will be covered first. The integration of cultural societies has come to be. In cities such as Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, an individual using public transportation is going to encounter people from different cultural backgrounds. With such a diverse society, how is communication influenced? Having the same cultural beliefs does not necessarily mean any two people will react the same in situations (Goman, 2011). Generalizations can provide clues on what one might encounter and the way communication will be affected (Goman, 2011). Examples of three generalizations: Cultures are either high-context or low context. The choice of medium used to communicate may have cultural undertones. The United States for instance, favors electronic and written technology while Japan prefers oral or face-to-face communication (Goman, 2011). Next, cultures are either sequential or synchronic. If a culture thinks of time sequential-as a linear commodity to spend, save, or waste, whereas synchronically-as a constant flow to be experienced in the moment as a force that cannot be controlled or contained (Goman, 2011). German and Swedish cultures give full attention to one task at a time, but other parts of the world multi-tasking is the norm (Goman, 2011). Last, cultures are either affective or neutral. A great example of an affective cultural is Italian. They tend to be very passionate and readily show their emotions. The Dutch are more of a neutral culture-very controlled with emotions and do not telegraph them (Goman, 2011). Communication among healthcare providers and patient is imperative. Many times an individual is embarrassed to revel symptoms or past medical history in fear they might be rejected or judged. The thought of another patient getting a glimpse of their medical chart is reason to withhold information or perhaps the medication prescribed makes them feel strange or sick? No matter their reasoning, holding back pertinent information could be costly and in worst cases deadly. There are a plethora of ways healthcare providers can ease the minds of individuals and ensure the line of communication between them stays open and honest. Patients want to believe their healthcare provider truly cares for their well-being. Verbal and non-verbal communication helps providers express interest and concerns to patients. Making eye contact, listening and questioning with thought, demonstrating understanding and compassion are examples of verbal and non-verbal communication. Bridging any social gap that may be present will help establish open communication between provider and patient. Viewing the relationship as a partnership in which each party contributes to maximize the outcome is an essential element in provider/patient relationships. The choice of words a provider uses can affect the line of communication between them and their patients a great deal. If an individual has no knowledge of the medical terms a physician is using they may become embarrassed by it and not ask the proper questions or pretend to know what is being said. Effective communication relies on five basic elements, the sender, the receiver, the medium, the channel, and the feedback. The sender initiates the communication....
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