The Quality and Culture Quiz has shown that my knowledge of cultural issues in health care. I have scored 18 out of 23 scores, and, to be honest, that is even more than I expected because I am not very sure in my knowledge yet. Nonetheless, now I know for certain where my strengths are and where my weaknesses are.
Due to the course I have received a deep and keen understanding of cross-cultural problems arising between a practitioner and a patient. And I have learnt that effective communication is a key to conveying all the necessary “credibility, empathy, interest and concern”¯ (Read 26) to a patient of any culture, race, language and so on. I have read much additional information on the Muslims, because their cultural, religious and social norms impressed me profoundly. What is more, I had a chance to cooperate with several representatives of the Arabian world and to get acquainted with their differences on my own, as it were in the field. That is why I easily answered the questions concerning the overall theory of communicating and treating the patients of foreign cultures, and especially those connected with the Muslim women.
However, I failed to remember the peculiarities of different African states and also forgot the situation with cancers and correlation between a lower incidence and lower mortality of Hispanics. This failure made me understand that I have some gaps in my knowledge about other world cultures, and it is especially a shame because we have to work with these two groups rather often. Though, I know that I have a chance to improve my knowledge in the library and of course by personal communication. First, it will be communication with my colleagues who already have the proper experience and only then, when I will be more confident in my understanding, I will work with the Hispanic and African patients on my own.
Further on, I faced problems with family members. On the one hand, I forgot a very important fact that family and friends are not the best interpreters for the patients. And in no way can they be compared with a professional interpreter whose task is to escape misunderstanding and to transfer information between the practitioner and the patient as accurate as possible, without distortion and interference of his own prejudices, ideas, feelings and care. The nearest and dearest can rarely get rid of all that staff, while professional interpreters are trained “to guarantee “meaningful access”¯ to health and social services that receive any form of federal funding”¯ (Airhihenbuwa 111).
On the other hand, I made a mistake answering on the involvement of family, which is necessary in some cultures. As Margaret Read (69) states, “in many of the world’s cultures, an individual’s health problems are also considered the family’s problems, and it is considered threatening to exclude family members from any medical interaction”¯. I know it well that any information the family can provide can be useful in gathering the anamnesis, but I decided to make a stress on individual’s right for privacy and thus gave one more incorrect answer.
Airhihenbuwa, Collins O. (1995). Health and culture: beyond the Western paradigm. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishers.
Read, Margaret (1966). Culture, health and disease: social and cultural influences on health programmes in developing countries. London: Travistock Publications.