Paper type: Essay Pages: 9 (2008 words)
Every patient wants respect throughout his or her experience with a healthcare provider. One of the ways by which a healthcare professional can express respect to a patient is by considering the cultural background. A patient’s values, traditions, and beliefs considerably impact his or her perception of health as well as the choice of medical care. Cultural communication is a source of disputation to a patient, where one believes his or her feelings were understood, and one was treated with respect.
Furthermore, a patient develops a trusting relationship with the healthcare provider. Competence in cultural communication is critically desirable in Canada where the scope of diversity is wider. 18% of the Canadian population is made up of foreigners. 13% of the population comprises of the visible minority. However, the Aboriginal groups account for approximately 3% of the population (Caron, 2006). The Aboriginal groups in most cases emerge out as victims of a selection of culturally insensitive stereotypes. A specific group of the Aboriginals is the Metis group.
The Metis have distant histories, challenges, and needs, but above all, a distinct belief system that has presented a considerable challenge to the healthcare providers to provide culturally competent care. A healthcare provider who is culturally aware of the Metis group must first acknowledge that they have a different language, behaviors, and traditions from him or herself. The characteristic aspects of communication among the group occur in both verbal and non-verbal communication. A willingness to learn, understand, and accept the communication view of the Metis group allows a healthcare provider to understand acceptable and non-acceptable cues in their communication. Understanding these cues calls for a stretch further into the cultural, historical, and political issues of the community. Evidence linking improved health outcomes and culturally competent care implies that a focus on the Metis community’s language and culture is the primary strategy capable of achieving every Canadian healthcare provider’s well-being goal. An overview of the Metis Community Cultural CommunicationThe Metis community expresses respect to their culture through communication. They own specific communication gestures in both verbal and non-verbal communications. Non-verbal communication occurs as the most challenging form of communication because it is ignored and yet, it is a crucial component of a culturally competent healthcare provider. The community has a wide range of expectations regarding non-verbal communication. The expectations involve elements such as voice volume, eye contact, aspects of gender equality, personal space tone, and body language. Eye contact, for instance, presents a good example of the community’s non-verbal cues. The community believes that eye contact is a means to connect with the human soul, and hence, do not look the others into the eye as it is considered disrespectful (Caron, 2006). Comparing to contemporary culture, eye contact implies honesty and interest. While a patient from the community might be implying supreme respect to the healthcare provider by avoiding eye contact, the professional provider unaware of the culture would interpret it as untrustworthy or lack of interest. The community further implies respect in their communication by using low volumes and soft tones of their voices. By a healthcare provider embracing a similar tone or voice volume, the patient feels the respect back. The two elements of communication are, however, likely to be confused with lack of interest as well or confidence. Subsequently, members of this community are more likely to respond to a question by giving an indirect story which holds not only an answer to the question but also an emotion, perspective, or a message that seem too personal to have been shared (Fox, 2004). This form of response will likely create difficulties in communication with a busy practitioner who values efficiency. A culturally competent healthcare provider must be aware of such communication gaps and appropriately adjust to stage a comfortable communication space. Healthcare providers are more likely interested in acquiring a patient’s history of illness, general past medical history, and a review of the present symptoms. The logical manner of acquiring this information will most likely present a challenge with the verbal communication style of members of the Metis community. Members of the community prefer the sharing of personal stories, their culture, and the history of their community (Caron, 2006). Expressing an interest in the three aspects builds more trust between the patient and the healthcare provider from which a patient slowly understand the provider’s intentions and questions. It is thus ultimately evident that cultural competence of uncomfortable possibilities of any cultural or language barriers. Communication StrategiesThe problem of the language barrier presents a frightening challenge, especially when one cannot find the right word to make the other one understand the message. Furthermore, if the two communicating parties cannot share messages because of the language barrier, it makes it difficult to bridge the cultural communication gaps between them. One of the communication strategies that address the communication barrier is finding the words (Caron, 2006). The strategy relies on translators to facilitate the exchange of messages. Translators may be qualified, but in the cases of no professional translators, one can rely on the family members to act as translators. Translation supports sharing of the language spoken, which can be argued relevant because sharing of knowledge is the central requirement of positive verbal communication. If a translator can efficiently support the exchange of medical knowledge, then a healthcare provider will be in a good position to make appropriate professional positions (Brascoupe, 2009). However, translation requires someone with adequate expertise on aspects of nurse-patient consultations and diagnoses; otherwise, there will be no clear communication. In addition, there might be a breach of professional standards if the translator excludes patient confidentiality. Cultural and communication challenges can then be delayed by having knowledge of Metis history. Indifferences experienced with members of the community are traced back from the struggles of generations before them. The claim corresponds with the National Chief Phil Fontaine’s views who argued that knowledge of history is the primary strategy of bridging the gap between Metis patients and health care providers (Caron, 2006). Knowledge of history is critically relevant to understanding the present circumstances. Understanding a patient’s history helps a physician or any health care worker to understand that the suffering they experience in hospitals does not always emerge from medical ailments but the socio-cultural status of a patient.A further cultural and communication strategy is a focus on the patient rather than the illness. Members of the Metis community appreciate a balanced form of communication, where all the parties equally share information. An effective provider focuses more on learning about the patient than the ailment. Subsequently, the providers who share a bit about themselves create a balanced exchange of information (Caron, 2006). A balance in the exchange of information touches the mental, emotional, and spiritual elements resulting in trusting relationships. If a nurse could get the patient to trust him or her, he or she will gain all the relevant and important information required for treatment of a Metis patient. The final strategy facilitating cultural competence is the combination of traditional and modern medical practices. Metis community is a group that strongly embraces and values their culture. The challenge is, however, differentiating between reality and myths. Even though, it is not always wrong to complement western medicine with traditional elements. Convincing a patient not to believe in medicine that their people have trusted for more than hundred years does not help but rather damages the trust between him or her and the healthcare professional (Caron, 2006). It implies undermining a culture; it makes no sense discouraging a traditional medicine. Instead, a nurse is required to effectively and clearly explain what he or she recommends and the reasons behind it. Appreciation of traditional practices provides a healthcare professional with a mean by which he or she can communicate his or her knowledge in a culturally effective manner, from which he or she creates trust and understanding with the patient. The four strategies not only facilitate communication but also created the trust required for the patient to disclose all the relevant information that supports medical decisions.Communication Barriers with the Metis CommunityCommunication features of the Metis community present two major barriers to effective communication. One of the barriers is cultural and community fit. This explains the challenges faced in creating culturally and linguistically fit environments in relation to the community needs. Both the historical and current experiences of the Metis community make it difficult to build trust with the members of their community (CASLPA, 2010). Addressing this barrier requires a focus on four main elements such as cultural and language appropriateness, creating trusting relationships, and being flexible to community needs. It is possible that the manner the Canadian health programs offer conventional services to patients challenges the community held beliefs and values. Such outcomes create culturally unsafe environments for groups such as the Metis community which form the minority of the country’s population. Communities such as the Metis value holistic beliefs more (CASLPA, 2010). The healthcare provider can address the cultural gap by first sharing with a patient regarding his or her culture and history, and instead of undermining their ways, explain effectively why he or she needs to give the required form of medication. Language appropriateness, on the other hand, is facilitated by reliance on professional translators who form part of the hospital staff. Second, health care providers can as well rely on patients’ family members. The translator must, however, have adequate knowledge of the patient-nurse consultation aspects and cope with the confidentiality code of health care provision (Caron, 2006). Having addressed cultural and language appropriateness, it is easier for the providers to build trusting relationships with the patients from which they will be flexible to the community requirements. The four solutions place a provider in a cultural and community fit position detracting the barrier that would otherwise, cost-effective provision of health care services. A subsequent barrier to effective interaction with the Metis community is the location. Location defines the experience created by geographic, socio-economic, and cultural isolation. The barrier impacts not only the interaction outcomes but also accessibility and suitability of healthcare services. Isolation impacts the community in a number of ways. First, geographic isolation and lack of accessibility to critical social services and contact to the rest of the population crates intellectual shortages with language (CASLPA, 2010). Children born in native environments, for instance, are exposed to only traditional languages. Such children face difficulties acquiring the intellectual capacity to accommodate national languages such as English. The extreme conditions further threaten their linguistic capabilities even with their local languages.This barrier can be countered by facilitating access to the community. Infrequent or minimized health services results to the community depending on itself. The outcomes are intense on the community in that they negatively impact their later encounters with healthcare providers. Accessibility can be facilitated by dispatching health care services to remote locations and more importantly, retain professionals in the areas. Second, the government can organize for outreach services in the remote locations of the Aboriginal communities, many of which form the Metis community (CASLPA, 2010). Eliminating isolations exposes the community to the rest of the country which supports inter-cultural sharing. One of the benefits of intercultural sharing is cultural and communication competence.Conclusion Cultural awareness and competency allow a practitioner to reflect on his or her own cultural identity and recognize its impact on clinical practice. Cultural competence challenges the power imbalance between a health care provider and a patient. It challenges the providers to appreciate other ways to which people experience life. It pushes practitioners to acquire knowledge of the cultural practices of their patients to adjust their physical space and personal behavior to suit their patients (Juin, 2013). The Metis community is a minor community in Canada with a sensitive history and special culture. The best way a healthcare provider can express appreciation of the Metis culture is learning about their history and showing interest in their language and culture. Inquiry on a person’s community and history implies being understood. Being understood, on the other hand, builds the required trust for therapeutic relationships.
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