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Cultural Competency In HealthCare

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Discuss about the Cultural Competency In Health Care.



Communication refers to the action of transferring information, ideas or thoughts from one place to another according to Nemeth (2008). The main goal of communication is to be able to comprehend the information that is relayed to you. Different categories of transferring information that may include: verbal communication or speech such as radio, phone, television, directly face to face and other media, non-oral communication; this could be by body signs and gestures, act or even the dress code, written messages like by means memos, letters, emails, magazines, newspapers, books and via other media and Visuals such as logos, maps, graphs, and charts that can relay or communicate messages.

Communication in healthcare is a very important tool available for giving the patients great care and provides their satisfaction. In health care setting, it must have a purpose that revolves around the needs of a patient (Bryan,2009).

Communication process

Messages are relayed as illustrated in figure 1 below. Feedback from the patient will show us how the message was understood and gives an opportunity for the health care giver to clarify and correct any confusion and misunderstanding soon as they arise (Bryan, 2009).

Effective communication is transferring messages simply and clearly to other people as well as receiving back the information with little or no misinterpretation as much as possible. It requires that the physician, caregivers, and all the other teams understand the patient and any experiences expressed (Burnard,1992).

With a wide spectrum of team members providing the care during the process of healing of the patients from the doctors, nurses to housekeeping and catering teams, loved ones, and family, miscommunication may occur causing unintentional harm to the patient (Pagano, 2017).

We can refer to anything that interferes with the main goal of communication as ‘noise”. Noise can greatly interfere with the understanding and interpretations of messages and significantly affect the interaction perceptions with others.    

These strategies may help to reduce communication noise and result in maximum communication efficiency  in a healthcare setting:

  • Sender/ health care giver:  It is important to be clear, concise and use simple language, create a trust, give enough information, be aware of your body language and most importantly give ample time to the patient to decipher the information.
  • Recipient/ Patient: patient needs to be more attentive, ask for clarification if not sure, confirm the message was understood and be more aware of the body non-verbal language.

At our health care facility, we are passionate about patient care and communication . All the teams of various departments have numerous chances daily to have an impact positively on the experiences and satisfaction on many patients. This is the reason all team members are trained to avoid any barrier that may hinder taking care of the patients excellently( Arnold& Boggs 2015).


Common barriers that hinder effective communication in health care

  • Jargon: Use of technical or unfamiliar terms
  • Taboos and Emotional barriers: It may be difficult for some people to express their opinions and emotions on some topics regarded as taboo in their communities.
  • A different point of view and perception.
  • Physical disabilities like speech and hearing problems.
  • Lack of interest, attention irrelevance to recipient and distractions.
  • Lack of understanding the language and accents
  • Physical barriers to non-verbal communication: Not being able to decipher body language may make communication being not effective.
  • Prejudices and expectations that may end up in stereotyping and false assumptions. Some people apply selective hearing and thus making incorrect conclusions.
  • Cultural differences: Cultures vary greatly in social interaction.

Most common complaints in healthcare in relation to Information systems and communication are; bad attitude and mannerism, lack of information, misleading and incorrect information and special needs not being accommodated (Pagano,2017). 

Improving communication tools and behavior

  • Provide enough information to the patients more compassionately.
  • Put in place a range of communication strategies and tools.
  • Get feedback from the patient to gauge whether they understood the information provided.
  • Address each patient differently depending on their level of understanding and be aware that they may not be familiar with the healthcare information.
  • Briefings prior to the beginning of a shift can get the staff is at the same start point of events, do away with surprises and positively work together as a team.

By using hospitality methodologies and guidelines established by Disney Institute, members of various teams are equipped with knowledge and skills to communicate most effectively with the patient they serve. They are taught principles, skills, and guidelines to enable them to have meaningful connections with these patients and give quality healthcare (Cockerell, 2013). 

We have put in place this acronym “AWARE” which  means;

Am available to assist


Ask if I can assist

Revisit and review what was done and explain what will be done next

Exit with kind words

Special rules have been put in place that all the team members are trained to use”don’t pass” whenever the call lights go on, members must check on the patient even it was accidentally put and act appropriately.


Research shows when there are strong relationships between team members’ skills of communication and a patient’s capability to follow the medical recommendations, chronic medical conditions that are self-managed, and adopting preventative health behaviors. The ability of the team members to explain, listen and empathize can profoundly impact positively on biological and functional health results as well as the patient satisfaction of the care experience. Communication among the various team members of the healthcare has an influence of the work relationships, job satisfaction, and overall patient safety. In providing great care and satisfaction of the patient while improving their well-being in a healthcare setting or hospital, the greatest most important tool is communication.



Arnold, E. C., & Boggs, K. U. (2015). Interpersonal Relationships-E-Book: Professional Communication Skills for Nurses. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Bryan, K. (2009). Communication in healthcare. Oxford [England: Peter Lang.

Boyer, C. (2016). The secret handshake: Effective communication strategies for the workplace.

Burnard, P. (1992). Effective communication skills for health professionals. London: Chapman & Hall.

 Cockerell, L. (2013). The Customer Rules: The 39 essential rules for delivering sensational service. London: Profile.

Nemeth, C. P. (2008). Improving healthcare team communication: Building on lessons from aviation and aerospace. Aldershot, England: Ashgate.

In Normore, A. H., In Long, L. W., & In Javidi, M. (2016). Handbook of research on effective communication, leadership, and conflict resolution.

Pagano, M. P. (2017). Health communication for health care professionals: An applied approach


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