Successful communication between healthcare providers and their patients from different cultural backgrounds depends on developing awareness

Successful communication between healthcare providers and their patients from different cultural backgrounds
depends on developing awareness of the normative cultural values of patients and how these differ from the cultural
values of most western medical professionals. When cultural differences are poorly understood a variety of adverse
clinical outcomes may result: reduced participation in preventive screenings delayed immunizations inaccurate
histories use of harmful remedies non-compliance and decreased satisfaction with care (Carteret 2011).
There are many cultural considerations to be aware of while interviewing Sue Li who is of Asian American ethnicity.
The Asian community as a whole is conservative no matter the sex of the person. Sue Li should first be asked if she
would prefer to speak with a male or female nurse. Since the patient is only 20 years old there may be some resistance
in communication. The Asian Community has a strong bond with family. Their family extends to include all relatives not
just immediate members. Loyalty is expected within the family and dishonor or disgrace is not tolerated. Self-control is
expected from all family members this demonstrates stamina and strength in crisis. In the healthcare setting Sue Li
may be unwilling to show strong emotions pain or grief because of cultural values. Cultural beliefs about health and
sickness often conflict with Western medicine which prevent some Asian-Americans from seeking help for symptoms
or sticking with treatment. Another important consideration the nurse must check for is that Sue understands what she
is being educated about. There may be a language barrier. Sue Li may give the nurse a gesture as though she
understands when she is actually confused about her diagnosis or treatments. It will help if the nurse avoids asking yes
or no questions. The nurse must also give the patient time if she wants to confer with her family. Unfortunately this can
be time consuming and possibly delay care but building a trusting relationship is essential when dealing with different
cultures (Carteret 2011).
The Abuse Assessment Screen (AAS) was created for the detection of abuse in pregnant women and it is the oldest
screening tool used today. It consists from three to five questions and is also used to increase documentation in
medical records. The questions assess physical sexual and emotional abuse prior to and during pregnancy. The AAS isusually conducted by the nurse but can be conducted other members of the hospital such as counselors physicians
or nutritionists. The tool is even translated into different languages and it also includes body maps for documentation
of injuries (Womens Health 2009).
If abuse is discovered the nurse should not only report it but offer support to Sue Li. The nurse can provide her with
resources to receive help and education. For instance a nurse could give Sue Li the phone number of a domestic
violence hotline. Also the nurse may show Sue to a phone and an opportunity to make the call. After the nurse
assesses Sues home environment and determines if it is safe the nurse can refer her to a battered womens shelter.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE is an excellent source for both patients and nurses. These
sources will allow the nurse to give Sue Li additional knowledge encouragement and the assurance that she can come
back to the hospital for additional help (Carteret 2011).
Carteret Marcia M. ED. (2011). Cultural Values of Asian Patients and Families. Retrieved from:
Cultural Values of Asian Patients and Families

(2009). Womens Health and Education Center (WHEC). Retrieved from:

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