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Effective Communication with Aboriginals (Essay Sample)


The meanings of specific, socially relevant behaviors and perceptions can vary in important ways across cultures. To take just a few examples, making eye contact with someone, or a prolonged silence during a conversation, or someone saying “yes” – or even what it means for something to be “closer” in time – all can have different meanings across different cultures.
For this assignment, you will (1) read literature that situates socially relevant behavior or perceptions in distinct cultural contexts, and (2) reflect on how an understanding of the culturally dependent meaning of behavior could contribute to effective interaction with culturally diverse groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Read the information sheet and article below and write a brief essay (300 words) addressing the following:
Imagine that a white medical doctor is seeing an Aboriginal cancer patient from a rural Aboriginal community for the first time. The doctor sits in a treatment room with the patient, and carefully reads the patient’s medical history from a computer screen while telling the patient the name of the medication they’re prescribing and instructing the patient to take the medication “until finished”. The doctor asks the patient if they’ve understood, to which the patient replies, “Yes.” According to the information sheet and article, in what ways might this communication be inadequate?


Effective Communication
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One of the most salient elements in our lives is communication. Effective communication is vital as it forms the foundation and growth of respect and trust. In the health care system, effective communication, especially between patients and health care providers, is paramount for providing quality health care services. Poor cancer patients’ outcomes among the Aboriginal people of Western Australia, apart from systemic racism, has been attributed to communication barriers. To turn the tide, cultural sensitivity, personal contact empathy, respect of life circumstances and culture, recognition and appreciation of their family structures are vital for medical practitioners.
Reflecting on the case whereby a white medical doctor was seeing an Aboriginal cancer patient for the first time from a rural community, the doctor’s communication was inadequate and ineffective in many ways. First, the failure to institute a personal relationship with the patient. The doctor displayed lack of genuine care towards the patient, which impacted the patient-doctor relationship (Shahid et al., 2009). The Aboriginals value personal relationships in their culture. Second, lack of clear instructions. The doctor’s instruction to take medication “until finished” is likely to be misinterpreted by the patient. It shows a lack of clear and adequate explanation. Third, failure to build rapport and follow up questions. When the patient responded with yes for having understood the instructions, the doctor failed to further inquire about the patient’s understanding of the instructions. In most instances, the Aboriginals always agree to questions whether they don’t agree or understand hence the need for further interrogation. Also, the direct questioning considering the client was from the Aboriginal rural community where the majority don’t speak English,

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