Reflection on Cultural Awareness
As nurses, we work with patients, providers and healthcare team members whose native language is not English. This diversity may lead to challenges with communication and the nurse being “caught in the middle.” Consider how to apply cultural awareness to nursing practice.
Reflect on how to apply cultural awareness to communication in your current clinical practice.
Share an example of miscommunication that occurred as a result of this diversity and whether an adverse outcome resulted.
Describe how the miscommunication could have been and will be prevented in the future.
Cultural Awareness in Communication
Cultural awareness plays a critical role in communicating with patients, families, and nurses from diverse backgrounds. It establishes a framework for creating a more beneficial and positive relationship with clinicians, thus improving health outcomes. Culturally sensitive communication helps provide holistic care by incorporating necessary considerations (Brooks et al., 2019). Providers are expected to be aware of the meaning of verbal and non-verbal communication as they apply to different cultures and reflect critically on these diverse groups’ beliefs, values, cultures, and preferences.
Miscommunication as a Result of Diversity
An example of miscommunication due to lack of cultural diversity is when a male nurse asked a Muslim female nurse about her health history. The patient was reluctant to share this information with the provider even though the nurse insisted. This angered the patient, and she reported to her the senior nursing department requesting for transfer. The nurse was summoned and informed on the importance of privacy among the Muslims. The nurse apologized to the patient, who calmed down. Finally, the patient was referred to a female nurse who was more competent with the cultural needs of the Muslims. No adverse event resulted from this action since everything reverted to normal after this event.
Prevention of Miscommunication
Miscommunication could have been prevented by educating the patients on the cultural competencies and how it is essential to maintain them when providing care. Miscommunication in the future could be prevented if the nurse had established a mutual relationship with the patient before the care process. This could help understand the unique needs and what is considered respectful in the caring process (Brooks et al., 2019). The organization should adopt community engagement interventions through health fairs and wellness screening to increase the professionals’ competence in the cultural needs of the different community groups.
Brooks, L. A., Manias, E., & Bloomer, M. J. (2019). Culturally sensitive communication in healthcare: A concept analysis. Collegian, 26(3), 383-391. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colegn.2018.09.007