Importance of Effective Communication
Communication is the cornerstone of healthcare. Effective communication is not only critical to meeting patient needs and providing safe, high-quality, and patient-centered care, it is necessary to how we manage healthcare delivery (James Merlino, 2017). It means that positive patient outcomes have effective communication between the patient and health care providers. Adverse results are likely to have ineffective communication that negatively impacts the process. It is in this regard that effective communication comes into perspective if quality service is to be realized. Understanding the patient’s cultural and social construction is essential hence promoting cultural competence through effective communication. People have varying beliefs and attitudes regarding various issues at societal and personal levels (Markova & Broome, 2007), and healthcare providers cannot ignore these in a healthcare setting.
Promoting Cultural Competence
An individual’s beliefs and attitudes determine how the person views illness and treatment. It means that for patient-centered care to be effectively achieved, a healthcare provider must understand the patient’s cultural influences. For example, some illnesses such as mental health issues may be considered a curse, which means that medical intervention may not be seen as a viable treatment procedure. Awareness of such a belief would help a health care provider understand why a patient or family member may be hesitant to follow through with medical treatment. Nurses and physicians play a significant role in the patient-centered service. Patient concerns, attitudes, and biases could hinder the process if healthcare professionals concerned lack effective communication. Such communication dictates letting the patient understand the entire treatment process and expected outcomes.
However, effective communication between the patient and healthcare provider also requires understanding the patient’s cultural, social, and family aspects. Such awareness makes the patient-centered process more effective and achievable, ultimately offering quality care with positive patient outcomes. For example, understanding the patient and family attitude towards chronic illness would help institute the best treatment strategy that brings both the patient and family on board. Traditional medicine use may thus be used alongside conventional treatment to alleviate suffering.
Globalization and subsequent immigration have resulted in people from various cultures interacting in multiple circles (Brown et al., 2016), and the healthcare setting is one of these circles. Thus, cultural competence includes language competence, hence the importance of diversity among healthcare providers to communicate with patients from different cultures effectively. A healthcare process can result in adverse outcomes when there are barriers in the communication process. For example, a patient can receive emergency treatment, resulting in allergy-related complications due to a breakdown in medical history communication. Language barrier means that the healthcare provider does not understand the language in use by the patient. It could also mean having a word that has a different meaning when used in another dialect. Effective communication means that a healthcare organization puts in structures that deal with such challenges. For example, the use of language translation software would be necessary for such a scenario. Promoting cultural diversity in the workplace by employing professionals from different backgrounds would also facilitate effective communication.
Effective communication is essential in the patient healthcare service process. Achieving competence involves understanding attitudes, biases, and beliefs that affect patient decisions. Patient-centered treatment seeks to involve the patient instead of making all the decisions without the patient’s involvement. It is not possible to achieve this without factoring in the patient’s social and cultural aspects. Thus, promoting cultural competence dictates having structures that promote effective communication between patients and healthcare providers and communication between healthcare professionals.
Brown, E., Bekker, H., Davison, S., Koffman, J., & Schell, J. (2016). Supportive care:
Communication strategies to improve cultural competence in shared decision making. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 11(10). https://doi.org/10.2215/cjn.13661215 (Links to an external site.)
Markova, T., & Broome, B. (2007). Effective communication and delivery of culturally
competent health care. Urologic Nursing, 27(3). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6164007_Effective_communication_and_delivery_of_culturally_competent_health_care (Links to an external site.).
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