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Multicultural Communication and its origins

In the healthcare setting, multicultural communication entails the process of curating messages for better understanding by a multilingual audience. Healthcare professionals’ exposure to varied cultures is a prerequisite to understanding patients’ unique needs emanating from a specific culture. The origin of multicultural communication is attributed to globalization. Globalization has increased travel and communication among people that has enabled the integration of different cultures worldwide.

Compare culture, ethnicity, and acculturation

Culture refers to the learned and shared beliefs, attitudes, traditions, and social norms distinct to a community. Culture, as a social construct, encompasses human behavior, mythology, social organization principles, and philosophy transmitted through social learning. Thus, culture is based on environmental influences and is taught through imitation and observation of other people. Ethnicity refers to the inborn status based on the society where one resides. Ethnicity entails a group of people who identify with each other based on similar characteristics. Members identify with a particular ethnicity based on common language and heritage (Croucher & Kramer, 2017). Acculturation refers to the process of cultural contact and exchange. Acculturation occurs where one person adopts norms and practices of another distinct culture that is different from their own but retains their original culture.

Explain how cultural and religious differences affect the health care professional and the issues that can arise in cross-cultural communications.

Cultural and religious differences have a vast influence on health care due to differences in belief systems. Culture and religion affect health perceptions such as the causes of diseases, treatment approaches, and places where patients seek medical assistance. Culture influences what patients and healthcare professionals believe about the causative agents of diseases. In western societies, diseases are caused by natural scientific phenomena, while some societies believe in fatalism thus reject diagnostic reports (Paudel, Javanparast, Dasvarma, & Newman, 2018). Culture also affects the perception of the patient’s control in preventing diseases. Such cultures disregard preventive measures such as vaccines and screening tests. Culture also affects Healthcare regarding the degree to which pain is experienced and expressed. For example, pain is considered a norm in a stoic culture. Religion and culture also affect how patients seek help and the treatment methods. Some cultures consult allied healthcare providers before visiting a professional medical practitioner when diseases become severe. In some cultures, certain illnesses are stigmatized, such as depression, in the Asian cultural perspective; thus, there are no avenues for treatment.

Issues Arising from Cross-Cultural Communication

Cross-cultural communication refers to how people from different cultures interact. Cross-cultural communication is hampered by a variety of elements such as language barrier, ethnocentrism, and stereotypes. The language barrier is the most significant cross-cultural communication barrier. Differences in dialect lead to communication breakdown where one party is not fluent in the common language. Language barrier occurs in the form of mispronunciations and specification of words to derive the appropriate meaning. Ethnocentric persons assume that one’s culture is superior to others; thus, one looks at other cultures through their dominant culture’s lenses (Bauman & Shcherbina, 2018). Ethnocentrism thus judges different cultures according to their cultural standards as the set standard. There is no attempt to internalize other cultures based on its member’s perspectives. Stereotypes are preconceived notions of someone’s characteristics due to their affiliations to a specific cultural background. It is usually associated with negative misconceptions that hinder communication.

Family culture and its effect on patient education

Family culture refers to the set of customs, rules, morals, and traditions that govern a family setup. Each family has a distinct culture that governs how they solve everyday problems. Family culture is essential as it defines the roles one takes in a family setup and helps make conscious family decisions. Family dynamics such as traditional gender roles, filial responsibilities, and perception of support among family members profoundly influence Healthcare. The family has an immense influence on how patients carry out treatments or follow health advice. Healthcare professionals must decipher family members’ roles, such as the decision maker, in terms of children’s health and enlist their support. The backing of healthcare treatments by an influential family member helps increase confidence in the treatment interventions (Frampton, Guastello, Hoy, Naylor, Sheridan, & Johnston-Fleece, 2017). Besides, family culture affects patient education regarding the perceptions of the young versus old. The young may want different intervention techniques due to acculturation while the old stick with the tested and proven methods, thus leading to feuds regarding the patient’s health.

List some approaches the health care professional can use to address religious and cultural diversity.

In the contemporary world, healthcare professionals are more inclusive of cultural and personal differences. Healthcare professionals address religious and cultural diversity through the maintenance of cultural competence in the workplace. Cultural competence refers to the ability to comprehend messages and effectively interact with people across different cultures. Cultural competence entails four sections; awareness of one’s worldview without bias to patient’s culture, development of positive attitudes towards patient’s cultural differences, sufficient knowledge regarding different cultural practices, and developing healthcare interventions in harmony with patient’s culture (Henderson, Horne, Hills, & Kendall, 2018). Healthcare professionals’ awareness of their culture and beliefs is a prerequisite to preventing bias that interferes with healthcare interventions. Self-awareness involves examining one’s culture and assumptions regarding a patient’s beliefs. Healthcare professionals also accept different cultures’ practices without bias as they are critical to the patient’s life. Medical practitioners also ask patients regarding their cultural and religious beliefs that are critical in providing congruent interventions. Patients must give informed consent regarding medical procedures; thus, nurses should ask whether the procedure contravenes the culturally accepted norms, thus incorporating new awareness into treatment planning.

Types of literacy

There are three main types of illiteracy in Healthcare; critical, functional, and interactive illiteracy. Critical illiteracy occurs when one can read and understand messages but cannot captiously analyze and apply the information in Healthcare. Functional illiteracy occurs when one lacks sufficient basic skills to comprehend read and written text required to be effective in basic situations. Interactive illiteracy occurs where one lacks cognitive and literacy skills to extract and interpret information from different communication forms.

Illiteracy as a disability in Healthcare

Illiteracy is considered a disability if it fulfills two conditions. Illiteracy is regarded as a disability if it results from a physical or mental impairment such as dyslexia. Illiteracy doesn’t qualify to be a disability by indicating one cannot read or write due to economic disadvantages. Second, illiteracy is regarded as a disability is if it limits one or more major life activities such as communication. Their literacy levels constrain the degree to which patient’s follow instructions. Besides, illiteracy is a disability if it impedes a patient’s ability to read and comprehend information and instructions such as dosages.

Examples of Illiteracy Myths in Healthcare

Some common illiteracy myths in Healthcare include;

  • Illiteracy is reserved for low-income individuals.
  • Illiteracy is connected to the level of education.
  • Illiterate individuals disclose their disability.
  • Illiteracy is nonexistent in the US healthcare system.

How to assess literacy skills and evaluate written material for readability

The most appropriate method to assess literacy skills in a healthcare setup is by questioning the patients to determine their engagement level. Nurses determine the degree of literacy through establishing rapports with patients. The evaluation of written material for readability can be implemented by filtering messages to improve comprehension by using shorter phrases, simpler words, and infographics. Customizing the content to reflect patients’ literacy level is prudent in enabling readers to interpret content effectively.

Identify ways a health care professional may establish effective communication

Effective communication is prudent in establishing rapport between healthcare professionals and patients. Clear communication can be established through engaging patients using non-medic language, such as using familiar words to clearly explain medical issues (Braaf, Ameratunga, Nunn, Christie, Teague, Judson, & Gabbe, 2018). In addition, nurses can move beyond traditional communication methods and initiate new techniques such as analogies and stories to help patients comprehend and relate to health issues. Infographic messages and video demonstrations also help establish effective communication as they demystify health issues.

Suggest ways the health care professional can help a patient remember instructions

Healthcare professionals can use different tactics to ensure patient’s recall instructions. Nurses ensure instructions are provided at levels the patient can easily understand and recall, such as written materials. Besides, healthcare professionals ought to make sure formation is confirmed through re-demonstrations. Nurses also validate patient’s understanding of instructions through encouraging queries from patients as it helps to personalize the information. The reiteration of information helps identify gaps and misunderstandings; thus, the nurse can correct them.




Bauman, A. A., & Shcherbina, N. V. (2018). Millennials, technology, and cross-cultural communication. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, 18(3), 75-85.

Braaf, S., Ameratunga, S., Nunn, A., Christie, N., Teague, W., Judson, R., & Gabbe, B. J. (2018). Patient-identified information and communication needs in the context of major trauma. BMC health services research, 18(1), 1-13.

Croucher, S. M., & Kramer, E. (2017). Cultural fusion theory: An alternative to acculturation. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 10(2), 97-114.

Frampton, S. B., Guastello, S., Hoy, L., Naylor, M., Sheridan, S., & Johnston-Fleece, M. (2017). Harnessing evidence and experience to change culture: A guiding framework for patient and family engaged care. NAM Perspectives.

Henderson, S., Horne, M., Hills, R., & Kendall, E. (2018). Cultural competence in Healthcare in the community: A concept analysis. Health & Social Care in the Community, 26(4), 590-603.

Paudel, M., Javanparast, S., Dasvarma, G., & Newman, L. (2018). Religio-cultural factors contributing to perinatal mortality and morbidity in Nepal’s mountain villages: Implications for future healthcare provision. PloS one, 13(3), e0194328.

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