Discuss topic 1 or 2.
In our initial assessment of the patient’s needs, interests and goals, we first discussed her immigration journey in detail. It was important for me to gain insight into what experiences she has been through since arriving in the US – both positive and negative – that could be impacting her overall wellbeing. Then, we discussed how the traditional American medical system may differ from what she received back in Ethiopia. This gave us an insight into her perceptions and expectations about healthcare. Finally, we talked about how cultural norms or habits from Ethiopia could affect health outcomes long-term—for example dietary approaches or exercise habits related to her cultural heritage.
This overall conversation allowed for me to learn more about my patient’s background and appreciate their perspective on holistic treatment plans that extend beyond typical Western medicine beliefs. Our conversation was open and respectful, despite the fact that there were cultural differences. It led to positive learning for all parties. Personal stereotypes did not play into my approach at all; rather than forcing preconceived ideas onto this person based solely on ethnicity, it was more important for me understand their individual story and familiarize myself with certain lifestyle practices rooted in their past so I could best serve them going forward as someone dedicated to providing quality care regardless of one’s demographic makeup.