Cultural Awareness As A Medical Assistant

This essay was submitted by student, Danielle Gehl, for an English Composition class at Rasmussen College. Danielle is pursuing a Medical Assisting degree through the School of Health Sciences.

When working in the healthcare field, a medical assistant will come across many different types of diversity. There are many different types of diversity other than race. There is religion, language, gender, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, and geographical regions.

In order to work in the healthcare field the professional must understand how to be culturally competent in all cultures, not just dominant ones, understanding the culture and how their rituals and beliefs differ from Western medicine, and knowing how to handle each situation can make the patient's time in the clinical setting more comfortable and enjoyable if medical staff was educated and aware of the differences.

medical-assistant-portraitDiversity can affect and change how a medical assistant does her job. Understanding a patient’s beliefs no matter what diversity, can make a patient feel comfortable or be open enough to let the patient know what and why they are there. If the patient feels comfortable enough with the medical assistant, the symptoms and signs of why they are at the doctor would be told in more detail and would narrow down their diagnosis. With many different types of cultures and diversity in the healthcare field in the United States, healthcare is needed by all types of people. Each individual should be treated like a unique person, not because of their race or religion.

With there being very dominant types of diverse groups in the United States sometimes healthcare professionals forget about other groups that are just as unique and require just as much awareness. Being aware of culture differences is important in the healthcare field because it affects how to approach and care for someone with these cultural differences.

A Desire to Learn About Other Cultures

In order for the medical assistant to be able to become culturally competent the medical assistant must have the desire to learn about other cultures. The medical assistant must learn how to listen to learn more about the culture from the patient. The more the medical assistant learns and listens to the patient from that particular culture, the more educated they become on how to handle certain types of situations. The medical assistant also needs to be able to explain to other healthcare professionals what she has learned from the patient and other reliable resources about that diversity group.

Being able to acknowledge each person’s diversity differences can also make the patient feel comfortable while visiting the healthcare provider. Giving the patient recommendations on how to handle each different diagnosis is pertinent as well. Each different diverse group is unique and the healthcare professional must be able to meet each patient’s needs as well. The medical assistant must assist the patient in negotiating the treatment needed in each diagnosis. Just like any other culture a medical assistant comes across, the medical assistant has to be able to give the patient the facts and not force their own beliefs on the patient.

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