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Cultural Misunderstanding in Healthcare

Cultural Misunderstanding in Healthcare

Cultural difference between health care service providers and patients have adverse effects on the provision of care. In my placement as a pharmacist, I had challenges dealing with patients from Asian origin due to language barrier that equally affected our communication process. They could not communicate properly their symptoms of feeling, thus I had to rely on non-verbal forms of communication to offer assistance.  As Truong, Paradies and Priest (2014) mistakes are bound to be made in the interpretation of a patient’s illness, if proper therapeutic relationships are not developed. Since there was no one of similar origin to assist in the communication process, I ended up making prescriptions based on their non-vernal communications that did not guarantee the provision of quality services.


Cultural diversity explains the difference observed in language, attitude, beliefs and actions of individuals from different ethnic backgrounds. As reported in the above case, the difference in ethnicity led to significant language barriers that affected the provision of quality care to the patients. According to Holland (2017) perceptions on illness, wellbeing and symptoms are defined by the culture of an individual. As such, communication between a pharmacists and a patient who share the same culture and understand a common language is likely to yield better results in prescribing the most appropriate drug that will offer quality care to the patient. Difference in ethnicity and similarly difference in linguistic language will not only affect the effectiveness of the communication process, but will also lead to the provision of inappropriate drugs to the patient.

Moving forward, I must ensure that I am cultural competent to improve the quality of my services. Understanding and identifying what is typical of various cultures exhibited by most persons that I serve is mandatory in providing appropriate prescriptions. In addition, cultural competence and awareness is important in ensuring that the uniqueness and respect of every individual is appreciated and taken into consideration even when giving them prescriptions. Better relationship with the patients as well as provision of quality and appropriate prescriptions is likely to be evident if I embark on understanding the issue of cultural diversity in a society.


Holland, K. (2017). Cultural awareness in nursing and health care: an introductory text. CRC Press: United States

Truong, M., Paradies, Y., & Priest, N. (2014). Interventions to improve cultural competency in healthcare: a systematic review of reviews. BMC health services research14(1), 99.