Cross-Cultural Care

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<p>Two new Commonwealth Fund-supported studies point to a lack of training for resident physicians in the complexities of providing "culturally competent" medical care in an increasingly diverse society.<br><br>
In one of the studies, published in the new issue of the <em>Journal of the American Medical Association,</em> doctors-in-training say they don't feel prepared to provide all patients with "culturally competent" care. <a href="… ">Resident Physicians' Preparedness to Provide Cross-Cultural Care</a> notes that about half of residents in their final year of training say they had received little or no training in understanding how to address patients from different cultures, how to identify patient mistrust and understanding relevant religious beliefs, or relevant cultural customs that affect care.<br><br>

Nearly all residents said it was important to consider a patient's culture when providing care. But lack of time, mentoring, and skills evaluation, the authors find, are limiting their ability to deliver effective cross-cultural care.<br><br>

Focus groups and interviews with residents confirm these findings. According to the other study, <a href="… Messages: Residents' Experiences Learning Cross-Cultural Care,</a> which appears in <em>Academic Medicine,</em> residents feel that cross-cultural care, although endorsed by their training institutions, is a low priority in their curricula due to lack of time and resources. Attending doctors, they said, are not likely to evaluate residents on such skills, and hospitals are short on medical interpreters.</p>