Cultural Diversity in the Medical World

Topics: Medicine, Health care, Hispanic and Latino Americans Pages: 6 (2029 words) Published: June 19, 2012

Cultural Diversity in the Medical Field
Patient Relations


The United States is a nation of immigrants; they have virtually every culture of the world within its borders. Due to this reason, there must be a certain level of cultural competency within its people. A comparison and contrast will be made to compare the Hispanic cultural views on medical care to the American cultural views toward medical care. I chose to explore Hispanic culture because of my background but most importantly due to its richness of unique characteristics. I will provide an overview on how heredity, culture, and environment can influence behavior in the medical office. Furthermore, I will express my opinion about why a medical assistant, must strive to adapt to a patient’s individualized needs, based on research and experience. To conclude my paper, I will be discussing how I can adjust my interpersonal communication techniques, to demonstrate sensitivity to other’s cultural beliefs, and also, how my knowledge, skills, and attitudes can be applied to medical assisting.

Cultural Diversity in the Medical Field

Heredity, culture, and environment can all influence patient behavior in the medical office. Starting with heredity, the traits that we inherit from our parents and grandparents are based on genes. We inherit genes from our family members; therefore, we may also inherit specific diseases that they may have had, like heart disease for example. If a mother has heart disease, this tendency can be transferred to a child through gene composition. Furthermore, from a Hispanic point of view, unlike Native Americans, they do not quite agree with taking medication every time they feel sick. “The prevention of illness is an accepted practice that is accomplished with prayer, the wearing of religious medals, or amulets, and keeping relics in the home” (Cultural Diversity, 2012). This citation explains the Hispanic point of view toward health care. This would certainly influence patient behavior in the way that a Hispanic person may not react as favorably, as a Native American, when asked to take his/her medicine. This specific belief goes way back in Hispanic ancestry and heredity. Of course, the Hispanic culture has much to do with many of their traits as well. Culture

Culture can most definitely affect patient behavior in a medical office. A person’s cultural background can tell you much about that person. It can give you an idea on what religion they practice, what their social customs are like, it can also clarify and put into perspective their health practices, and it can even tell you about privacy issues they may have. To give an example of how this can affect the behavior of patients in a medical office I will use the following citation. “To attend a Hispanic woman during delivery is a woman’s job, ideally the job of her mother and midwife. Cultural tradition dictates that a husband must not see his wife or child until the delivery is over and both have been cleaned and dressed. In general, Hispanic women prefer that their mother attend them in labor” (Cultural Diversity, 2012). Furthermore, the environment in general can also influence a patient’s behavior. Environment

How the environment can affect a patient’s behavior is quite simple. Modesty is valued in Hispanic culture. A Hispanic person considers the area between the waist and knees to be very private. If a problem should arise, in which a Hispanic male may have a sexually transmitted disease, he might not share that with the doctor simply because he does not want to talk about it. Of course, the consequences that may come from this can be quite taxing. The Hispanic overall view on health practices is relatively straight forward. Hispanics are very emotionally expressive. “They expect to be pampered when ill; it is one way the family shows love and concern” (Cultural Diversity, 2012)....
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