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Culturally-Derived Communication Misunderstanding

Culturally-Derived Communication Misunderstanding

Cultural diversity, customed by the presence of different cultural backgrounds at workplaces, has sometimes formed the basis for misunderstanding and miscommunication. These miscommunications have been attributed to several factors. Such factors as negative bias, poor speaking and listening skills, and misaligned lingo have all contributed to miscommunication. This paper seeks to address miscommunication and misunderstanding in a hospital set up with culturally diverse personnel

This miscommunication occurred at the hospital during the normal ward rounds. It involved a newly recruited physician who is of Mexican origin and not very fluent in English and a clinical pharmacist who is American and speaks good English. The contentious issue was the dose and dosing regimen of an anticancer drug for an Asian American patient. The previous guidelines, which appeared to have been abolished in the US, were still being used in the physician’s previous workplace, Mexico. The language barriers presented a characteristic difficulty for the physician to adequately explain to the pharmacist and other healthcare team members the justification of reverting the dose and dose regimen to the otherwise previous guidelines (Mangrio, Carlson, & Zdravkovic, 2018). The situation flared up and got to the patient, who demanded a transfer to another hospital.

The role of the advanced nurse in such scenarios is not only to mediate the conflict that may be a result of these miscommunications but also to establish an amicable solution to these misunderstandings. They should, therefore, be able to understand the situation, analyze it critically, and then inform the parties on the best way to handle such. Advanced practitioner nurses are also very well poised to handle miscommunication involving the patients and their caregivers due to the more contact time that they have with their patients compared to their counterparts, the physicians, and the pharmacist (Hitziger et al., 2017). By understanding the cultural obligations of the patients and their needs for treatment, they are the best to address the issues surrounding the patients that may lead to miscommunication.

Failing to address hospital communications can result in several ethical issues. Miscommunication can lead to offensive messaging among the involved parties. This may, in turn, damage interpersonal relationships and, consequently, reduce the efficiency of health service deliveries. Miscommunication may also lead to legal violations. Such is evident in slander, breach of confidentiality, and lying, especially to the patient. These especially occur when conflicts arise due to miscommunication between the healthcare providers or even between the patients and the healthcare providers, as evident in the scenario above.

Miscommunication among the healthcare team members and the patients has detrimental effects on health service delivery. Culturally derived miscommunication involves individuals from cross-cultures. These miscommunications can be attributed to language barriers or different beliefs and attitudes. The advanced nurse practitioner is better placed to handle such disputes due to her position with the team and also with the patients. Therefore, effective communication must be established to prevent the ethical implications that may arise due to such miscommunication. 


Hitziger, M., Berger Gonzalez, M., Gharzouzi, E., Ochaíta Santizo, D., Solis Miranda, R., Aguilar Ferro, A. I., … Krütli, P. (2017). Patient-centered boundary mechanisms to foster intercultural partnerships in health care: A case study in Guatemala. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 13(1), 1–13.

Mangrio, E., Carlson, E., & Zdravkovic, S. (2018). Understanding experiences of the Swedish health care system from the perspective of newly arrived refugees. BMC Research Notes, 11(1), 1–6.


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Culturally-Derived Communication Misunderstanding

Describe a situation in which you have encountered a culturally-derived communication misunderstanding in a healthcare setting with a patient, physician, colleague; supervisor, or administrator and its outcome.

Culturally-Derived Communication Misunderstanding

Culturally-Derived Communication Misunderstanding

What actions could you, in an advanced nursing role, implement to prevent culturally-derived miscommunications?

Are there ethical implications for not addressing cultural miscommunications? (Use fictional names and places. Choose a situation from the peer-reviewed literature if needed).

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