HCA/230 Communication Skills for the Health Care Professional (AXIA)
Cultural Views on Health
The world is different in many ways and one of the ways is the difference in culture. For instance in Malawi young women get AIDS more prevalently than men because they are not allowed to ask for the use of protection (Hawthorne, 2003). A set of practices, rules, and beliefs and practices that are shared by a group of people is referred to as being culture. The assumptions in some cultures prove how some members of that culture should act, how different actions and events should be interpreted, and what the roles of theses members should be. All around the world countries have their view on health whether it is good health or bad health and how it should be dealt with. The different views on illness and health have a profound affect on health communication. One of the reasons why there are so many different views is because of the many religious views of the cultures along with the resources available. There are many poor countries in the world and they might not have the technologies or the assets to do things that a country that is more developed may do.
Considering cultural views on health is a prerequisite for providing better health around the world. Without being familiar with the different cultures around the world the wrong, unfamiliar, or offensive care could be given to someone unknowingly. For example, as stated in the Axia College Week Six Reading (2004), there are some Russian cultures where the patients are under the assumption that the doctors that do not wear lab coats are incompetent and act informally. On the other hand, in America people tend to like physicians that appear more casual and friendly (Axia College, 2004, Week Six Reading). In this case a culture disdains what another culture seems to like. Cultures conceptualize health in many ways. According to Axia College Week Six Reading (2004), some consider disease as being independent and objective, beyond a patients understanding and outside of their control. Two fundamental ways of defining health will be explained. Harmonious balance is one explanation and as being an organic phenomenon is the other explanation. Within the context of cultural beliefs some ideas of disease overlap each other. Some diseases have a stigma to them and the person may be rejected by their community and in the same culture, as well as in other cultures, the disease is thought to be a curse placed upon the person by God or witches. Health Conceptualized as being Organic
Whether or not a person has physical abnormalities or disease giving germs are typically what the western culture uses as a sign of bad health. Without these signs a person is not perceived this way. The organic perspective is the assumption that health can be understood or defined by the presence or absence of physical indicators (Axia College, 2004, Week Six Reading). Strength of the organic perspective is its stress of emphasizing scientific knowledge. Caregivers and researchers keep detailed patient records, identify risk factors, conduct studies and experiments, and link diseases to their causes based on scientific principles (Axia College, 2004, Week Six Reading). All this is done in an effort to learn and accumulate more knowledge. This knowledge has lead to notable advances in medicine. According to Axia College Week Six Reading (2004), evidence-based medicine is making treatment decisions all based on scientific studies results. Evidence-based medicine is starting to be used in hospitals and different schools in order to hopefully avoid medical waste, and make successful decisions. Physical evidence however, alone does not solve everything which is a weakness of the organic model and its inability to explain a condition that cannot be verified easily. A person that identifies a sickness that cannot be identified scientifically is met with suspicion and...