Cultural Competence Self Assessments
Just before the sunset on the tenth of October 1988, I was born in a very small town in Burma where I lived for the next 17 years. I was born into two different religions: Christianity and Buddhism, and two different ethnicities: Chin and Burmese. While my paternal family is of Chin ethnicity which is one of the minority groups in Burma, my maternal family is pure Burmese and devout Buddhists, the majority class. In Burma, 135 different dialects are spoken and the majority of the people are ethnically Burmese. The majority tend to discriminate against the minorities. Moreover, Buddhism plays an important role in Burma as 85% of the population is Buddhist. Thus, when my parents were dating, the maternal side of my family was strongly against it due to the differing religions and ethnicities, and also because my paternal family was poorer than my maternal family. Despite the opposition of my maternal family, my parents still got married but my father held a grudge against my maternal grandparents.
Furthermore, ordinary people like me have to struggle for our livelihood living in a militaristic country such as Burma because of factors like government terrorism. We have to struggle for our livelihood as the junta terrorizes us in every aspect leading us to fear our every move. Since my father could not accept the military government’s administration, he tried to oppose it as much as he could. Thus, when he decided to move to America in 2001, it was for political reasons as much as it was for economic reasons. That was the last I heard from him till 2004.
Left alone, my mother had to take up a second job in order to make ends meet as her salary was meager. Accordingly, I had to help her with daily chores, and saw no hope for my future. Moreover, my maternal family pointed out that since my mother entered my father’s family, she had been suffering due to the different religion and ethnicity of my paternal family, and also their...
I got 9 correct answers and 14 incorrect answers. This score is lower than I expected. I was anticipating to get more than half of the total questions right because I thought that the set of questions on cultural competency for health care providers is an easy subject to tackle. However, my assumptions have proven me wrong. I have realized that this topic required more knowledge about different cultures and its relation to providing high-quality and culturally competent medical services. Prior to taking these quiz, I thought that giving medical attention to people from different cultural backgrounds was an uncomplicated task.
The reason behind this thinking is that culture is an issue that is familiar with every individual. More so, when dealing with a problem that involves the interaction of two or more dissimilar cultures, the natural instinct is to treat the difference with sensitivity and respect. It may seem that this is as simple as it sounds. But as I learned about the results of the quiz, there appears to be more than just being considerate and being polite. What we currently know does not necessarily mean that it is everything that we ought to know.
People should go beyond their comfort zone and try to understand things that are foreign to us. In the field of medicine, it is very important to practice this so as to provide the best care to patients in aid of prolonging and improving their lives. 2. Which items did you answer correctly? Which items did you answer incorrectly? To what do you attribute your incorrect responses? Out if the 23 questions in the quiz, I got mostly correct answers on questions about communicating the similarities and differences of people from different backgrounds.
However, there were some aspects of this subject matter that I did not do well such as asking about the patient’s personal background in a non-offensive way and soliciting g information in a non-verbal manner. Meanwhile, the 14 incorrect answers that I obtained were mostly about the beliefs and mannerisms of specific cultures. Also, I did poorly on handling language interpretation between a medical practitioner and the patient. Apparently, based on these results, I have a lot of learning to do to be able to be a competent medical practitioner in a culturally diverse environment.
I think that one of the main reasons why I did so badly in this quiz is the assumption that handling cultural differences has a universal approach. More so, I thought that a certain method or attitude can be applicable to numerous race and ethnicity. But in reality, every culture demands to be treated distinctively because a Hispanic patient can have dissimilar needs with and Asian patient or a Western medical approach cannot be applied to a medical problem of a patient from an African descent. 3. How will you enhance your cultural competence in any areas in which you were deficient?
How will you maintain your cultural competence in areas in which you were proficient? Since I was able to get more wrong answers than the right ones, I have realized that I have a lot of things to learn that will increase my knowledge about cultural competency and also I have to improve my skills in handling patients of diverse cultural backgrounds. One way of achieving this is by immersing myself to another cultural environment. Thought this, I can have a first-hand experience about the various traditions and beliefs that a certain culture practices.
The knowledge that I will gain from this cultural encounter would aid me in becoming more sensitive and more informed on the different aspects of a specific culture which can guide me to become an efficient health care provider. On the other hand, with the culture competence areas that I am proficient, I plan to further my knowledge when it comes to communicating similarities and differences of people from different backgrounds. It is important to properly execute this in order to gain accurate information from the patient and also to provide effective measures as a medical practitioner.