Health Care Roles in Communication
Healthcare communication can be perceived and affected in many different ways. Some of these ways include the perspectives of the caregivers, the roles of the patients and the caregivers, cultural views or beliefs, over or under supporting strategies, boundaries of job parameters, body language, time restraints, environmental factors, and levels of stress and burnout. “How would patient care change if the entire team of providers (nurses, doctors, and therapists) did not accommodate a patient’s personal, cultural and religious preferences?” This is a question that I see as being important in the discussion of health care communications roles. Would this scenario result in patients not seeking services or getting the services they need? Would it cause a rise in health care costs due to claims against providers for services which were inappropriate for that patient? Would incorrect diagnosis be more likely? Would more patients fail to seek necessary health care? Some of these issues already exist today even with providers attempting to become more proficient in acknowledging and accommodating cultural and religious differences that relate directly to health care delivery. Today, “Health care providers take many different approaches to bridge barriers to communication and understanding that stem from racial, ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences. In recent years, the notion of "cultural competence" has come to encompass both interpersonal and organizational interventions and strategies that seek to facilitate achievement of clinical and public health goals when those differences come into play” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007). Race is not a valid base for determining cultural, personal or religious beliefs. People from all backgrounds differ a great deal in their moral convictions and cultural views. We all should be received with tolerance and respect regardless of our viewpoint. These differences are what set us apart as individuals. Personal experience is a great influence in what help people will seek or accept. The wide diversity in U.S. cultural origins makes this issue very important in our health care system. Communication is the key to providing high quality, effective care in our facilities. Appropriate respect and good communication can make all the difference in the world. This is true from the first contact with a patient. The difficulties that can arise from poor communications are evident in the first scenario described. Given that we all have regional and global cultural differences in our upbringing and resulting beliefs, it is inevitable that health care providers and assistants are going to find themselves in situations where their own personal beliefs are challenged by a patient. Great trauma can be inflicted upon and frightened or uncomprehending patient if they are subjected unwilling to examination and treatment. Training and personal discipline are both required to deal with these types of situations. The first scenario is about a young girl, Lena, who fainted in class. She is of Southeast Asian descent. She is brought to the emergency room by her friend, Susie, after she fainted in her classroom. She has not history of this and does not exhibit any other complications that might lead to this event. Susie had Lena taken to the emergency room without any knowledge that this would be against Lena’ wishes, since Lena was still unconscious at the time. Lena and her family have resided in the U.S. for 10 years, but in spite of being superficially assimilated into the U.S. culture they strongly believe in their native customs. Lena was very angry about being brought to the hospital. The setting of the emergency room carries even worse connotations for her than just being subjected to a physical exam would have for her. She feels that only weak people go to these places. She turns this anger on Susie, thinking that her friend should...
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