Cultural training and medical staff sound like they shouldn’t be in the same sentence. What does culture have to do with medical staff? Well, given the nature of medical jobs, medical staffers meet people from all walks of life, majority of whom may not share the same cultural background. With Atlanta having the largest international airport in the country, the diversity of people in and around Atlanta is enormous. In light of this, it is important that your Atlanta medical practice staff are culturally sensitive.
What Exactly is Cultural Training in Medical Practice?
Cultural training is a learning program designed to equip medical staffers with the knowledge of other cultures. It ensures that medical staff understand and respect the beliefs and traditional values of their patients. With this awareness, they learn to shed their prejudice and previously held stereotypes about patients’ cultural backgrounds, thereby giving room for better care and empathy.
Why is Cultural Training in Medical Staff Important?
The essence of cultural competence amongst medical staff cannot be overemphasized. It helps with data collection, an essential aspect of medicine that informs the healthcare provider of a patient’s history and the best treatment course. Cultural training ensures that medical staff know the right questions to ask patients or their family members to get a sense of what could be causing their health problems or what treatment options are off-limits.
For instance, Jehovah’s Witnesses object to blood transfusion, and for most of them, it is non-negotiable. About 1% of the total population of Atlanta are Jehovah’s Witnesses. By implication, medical staff from different parts of Atlanta, such as Buckhead, Johns Creek, or Midtown, would encounter a Jehovah’s Witness patient who may vehemently reject blood transfusions as a treatment option. When this happens, a culturally aware medical staff would prescribe other treatment options that would not include blood transfusions without being unprofessional in the process.
Also, patients are better satisfied when they are attended to by medical staff who demonstrate cultural competence. A patient would be more relaxed and comfortable when they know their healthcare providers understand and respect their cultures and beliefs. This is important because, in today’s world, your medical practice is rated based on several factors besides clinical competence. What your patients are saying about your practice is crucial! So, you want to ensure that they are satisfied, and cultural training can help with that.
Some of the skills cultural training provides medical staff include active and non-judgmental listening skills and effective communication skills suitable for people of all age, race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. These are important to encourage patients to speak freely with medical staff members. They also help medical staff maintain objectivity and factor in a patient’s peculiar cultural values before prescribing a treatment plan.
Cultural training in medical staff improves the overall outcome for patients. A culturally aware medical staff offers medical solutions to patients that meet their needs while maintaining professionalism and objectivity. It is also necessary for avoiding mistakes due to ignorance of a patient’s culture.