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From your readings, which cultural difference would be most challenging for you to understand? Why? How would you prepare to work with individuals from this culture in order to respect their culture?

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From my readings, the most challenging cultural difference to understand is the language difference attached to a culture which affects the speaking ability, reading ability and listening ability. Often times, in the delivery of the healthcare people come with different languages and demanding a different approach in the use of the non-verbal language skills. To be specific I will focus on the Hispanic culture where the challenge is insufficient understanding of the English language. Although most Latinos living in the U.S. do speak at least some English, 60 percent of Latino adults speak primarily Spanish at home

Depending on the culture, some patients would not want to be addressed in a certain way but in accordance with their cultures.  Some cultures do not need more explanations but require the healthcare professional to go directly to the point.  Others might not require being addressed while maintaining an eye contact as it is termed a sign of disrespect.  On the flip side, others use different languages which affect the health literacy.   The Latinos believe in politeness and avoidance of hostile confrontation (spatial). For this reason, I find the language difference based on culture really challenging.

There are a number of ways in which I can prepare to work with individuals from this culture in order to respect their culture. Latino cultures include a more family-centered decision-making model than the more individualistic or autonomy-based model embraced by modern mainstream biomedical culture in the United States. This way, I should be prepared to offer a culturally sensitive healthcare services to the patients from any culture.

Regarding the issue of the language barrier, I will require support from the management so they can hire a person who understands the Latino language better to assist with the interpretation. People from this culture also do not like it when an eye contact is maintained as it is termed a sign of disrespect.  By understanding their culture better, I will able to face the issue of language barrier based on the cultural difference


Holly Mead et. al., “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in U.S. Health Care: A Chartbook” (The Commonwealth Fund, March 2008), Charts 6-25 and 6-26; and Joseph R. Betancourt, Alexander R. Green, and J. Emilio Carrillo, “The Challenges of Cross-Cultural Healthcare-Diversity, Ethics, and the Medical Encounter,” Bioethics Forum 16 (3).


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