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It is essential to determine and be mindful of what one’s culture is and entails because it might show signs and reasons as to why one might think/act a certain way and how their particular opinions are formed. My ethnic background would include German, French, and Czech ancestry. My primary language is and has always been English; and I am a Female. When it comes to race I am classified as a Caucasian that has brown hair, hazel eyes, and a few freckles.
My political stance is for the Republican Party. My parents raised me in the Catholic faith, but I am now a practicing Christian at the First Baptist Church where I live. Growing up and even now I would classify, in terms of socioeconomic status, in the upper middle class.
We are all human and part of what makes us human is our ability to form biases about aspects of others that may or may not be similar to what we believe or practice.
Everyone, whether it is intentional or not, forms a bias of people that they meet and interact with on a daily basis. I am very set in my ways of what I believe and practice, but I am never intentionally demeaning or disrespectful to people with different beliefs or practices, sometimes I actually find it quite interesting to hear other point of views. With that being said, I do not think my personal biases have a huge affect over my interaction with others, although I do tend to gravitate toward people who share the same beliefs and practices as myself.
When it comes to a professional setting, I have no problem working with others of different culture backgrounds as long as my actions correlate with my morals.
The cultural differences and biases affect the healthcare profession in a variety of ways. One example of these differences would be socioeconomic status. Socioeconomic status, in today’s world, sadly has a great affect on how one is treated, especially in the healthcare realm. The disadvantages to being apart of a low socioeconomic status are endless. For instance, they do not have comprehensive health care coverage, which leaves them with no way for treatment to be possible if they have to pay any money out of pocket. This ultimately leads to fewer services/visits from those types of patients. For the lucky ones who do have adequate health care coverage, and do get to go through therapy, then it is the physician’s personal bias that transforms what they think is necessary for a patient with low socioeconomic status.
Bernheim, Ross, Krumholz, and Bradley’s (2008) study found the following:
“Physicians were interviewed to determine how a patient’s socioeconomic status influenced their clinical decisions, it was found that each of the physicians could recall instances in which they changed their plan of care because of a patient’s socioeconomic status.”
Another example of a cultural difference would be religion. Spirituality in healthcare is not an uncommon idea. There are many businesses that incorporate religion into their daily services like the BSA Hospital here in Amarillo. It states in their mission statement “to provide quality healthcare in Christian love, service and dignity.” Although I personally think assimilating religion into healthcare is a great idea because of my beliefs, but that is not the case for all parties involved. Controversies that deal with integrating religion and health care are not new arguments. Some faith-liked disputes include abortion, gender/sexuality, and end-of-life issues. According to Tomkins, Duff, Fitzgibbon, Karam, Mills, Munnings, and Yugi (2015) “It’s the individual health-related viewpoints attributed to faith that is difficult, because of dissimilarities in acceptance of the authority and interpretation of sacred texts and viewpoints that might be altered by culture, education, economics, politics, and laws.” (2015) As health care professionals one should never be turned away for religious differences; those religious differences should be respected in all ways possible.
I believe that one of the biggest downfalls in us, as humans, would be treating others with disrespect because of cultural differences. The ultimate goal in healthcare is to provide care to patients, and I think some people lose sight of that main target. While keeping that in mind, there have been studies that have entertained the idea to incorporate some type of competency training of the different cultures in healthcare. Khanna, Cheyney, and Engle (2009) conducted a study that assessed the success of a cultural competency-training program designed to improve the knowledge and skills of health care providers. “The participants self-reported not only an enhanced understanding of the health care experiences of patients with diverse backgrounds, but also an improvement in their skills to effectively work in cross-cultural situations.” (Khanna, Cheyney, Engle, 2009) I think that establishing a type of culture competency based training program would be great for the world of healthcare in terms of understanding the differences in cultural backgrounds, beliefs, and practices.
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