- Leader’s Guide
- Encourages workers to know the customs of patients
- Models empathy and respect
- Improves patient care
Spend the afternoon in almost any hospital and you’ll discover the challenges of providing – and receiving – medical care in this increasingly diverse era. That’s the lesson delivered in Patient Diversity: Beyond the Vital Signs.
You’ll witness the valiant, yet often flawed attempts of nurses, orderlies and doctors to find a course of treatment for patients whose cultural beliefs toward medicine they do not understand. This lack of understanding not only hampers communication, it delays proper treatment.
This program clearly illustrates the importance of learning about your patient population: their belief systems, folk medicine, lore, even those things that dictate how they respond to pain and medical care.
Take, for instance, Mr. Lopez, who is quite vocal about his post-surgical pain. Nurses pay less attention to his moans, believing that, as a Latino, he will naturally respond this way to discomfort. When a doctor does finally examine him, it is clear he is suffering from internal bleeding at the site of his incision.
Or what about Mrs. Humphreys, who refuses medical care because she believes God is punishing her and medical intervention is useless? Trying to convince her that the hospital’s tests are her only alternative does no good. What does? Approaching her with understanding. Offering to phone her minister, encouraging her to see that perhaps God wishes her to have the help of this hospital’s resources.
These and other poignant scenes examine the concerns faced in healthcare delivery every day. And though the challenges, patients and solutions are highly diverse, the basic principles are not. With our communities becoming more global every day, there is no better time for Patient Diversity: Beyond the Vital Signs.
Participants Are Taught To:
- Learn about the beliefs and practices of their patient population.
- Not only tolerate, but try to accept the different cultural practices of their patients.
- Never forget they are treating an individual.