More Culture in the Doctor’s Office

I’ve recently come across more and more information regarding culture in the doctor’s office. There are articles and You Tube videos about cultural sensitivity, cultural interpreters and cross-cultural communication between doctors and patients. It’s important that this topic gets more attention, as it is so easy for misunderstandings to take place in a medical environment. As I mentioned in my blog “Culture in the Doctor’s Office”, there is the question of strong emotions, language, professional culture and national culture at play.

I was encouraged to see an article in Norway’s Aftenposten with the title “Culture Clash at Norwegian Hospitals” (loose translation). The gist of the article is that researchers believe that Norwegian ER nurses and hospital staffs need more cultural awareness and conflict management skills and knowledge. For a sample of the article or for access to the full article, click here.

With a little further digging I found out that the University of Michigan School of Dentistry has actually created a series of cross-cultural videos on effective communication between health providers and patients. They make some good points and again, at least they are being proactive. Here are two samples. The first features bad communication and the second features good communication.

And there are plenty more where those came from if you want to explore a bit. Thomas Jefferson University Hospital also has a good video showing cultural from both the health care provider’s and the patient’s perspective. Take a look here.

This topic has even trickled down into pop culture. One Grey’s Anatomy episode features a tense situation between the doctors and a Hmong family. It’s a great example of western versus traditional medical traditions and a good (albeit Hollywood) way to blend the two. Who says TV can’t be a good influence?

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