Intercultural Communication in Healthcare

Topics: Culture, Health care, Health care provider Pages: 3 (879 words) Published: December 16, 2011
Intercultural Communication in Healthcare

Intercultural Communication in Healthcare
In a culture as diverse as the United States it is of utmost importance that individuals in settings such as the health care field learn to communicate with people from different cultures. This type of setting offers many chances for misunderstanding, miscommunication, and mistrust. It is imperative for the health care field to have an effective strategy to minimize these negative consequences of poor intercultural communication. One must also remember when implementing a communication strategy that there are many elements that effect the experience; cultural variations, personal dignity, and interpersonal relationships. An effective intercultural communication strategy improves these aspects of the health care experience. Gathering knowledge of different cultures and the beliefs, values, and language can be an effective strategy to overcoming cultural diversity and improve intercultural communication. Cultural variation means that people are different from one another. Each person has his or her own set of values, norms, and beliefs. Individuals share these with others from their own culture; however with the vast number of separate cultures today it is important to understand not only that people are different but also how to embrace these differences in order to supply individuals with appropriate health care. There are many ways in which differences and cultures can affect health care services. Different cultures have different beliefs about health, wellness, and healing. Cultures also have varying beliefs about the causes of illness and diseases. For example, many individuals from the Asian culture believe that to discuss cancer is offensive and brings bad luck. They also believe that if there are no warning signs of cancer there is no reason for cancer screenings (Zhao, Esposito, & Wang, 2010). Overcoming these cultural beliefs and ideas can cause individuals...
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