Cultural Reflection Assignment

This is an optional exercise.  Completion of this activity will add extra credit to your Participation Evaluation.

Begin by reading, "Beyond Cultural Competence: Applying Humility to Clinical Settings" by Linda M. Hunt.

Please complete a written discussion, less than one page in length, to address the question at the bottom of this page regarding one of your patients during the inpatient pediatric experience.

As per your Medicine and Society curriculum, "Culture is a collage of beliefs, practices, norms, and expectations that derive from a shared heritage and background. Culture shapes what we think and say - as well as our bodily "nature" - posture and gait, taste in food, sensations of pain and pleasure and disgust (Mauss 1934)."

As per your ICM curriculum, consider the definition of culture to include: "The thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious, or social groups."

Culture shapes every person's perceptions of their health, illness and responses to problems. Early in your first year Medicine and Society class you wrote a Personal Illness Narrative describing the background of your family of origin and how you perceived and addressed health issues. You also visited, with a classmate, a patient/family in their home to learn about their perceptions. In ICM you were taught how to explore a patient's cultural background and explore their explanatory models for understanding their illness. You also learned a bit about how to reach across cultural differences to more fully communicate with patients. Now, as a third year student you are routinely caring for patients who each brings different culturally based perspectives to their medical encounter. With this in mind, write a very brief description of one patient's presentation, and respond to the following question:

How did this family's individual setting and cultural background affect their interpretation of the illness and the patient's diagnostic and therapeutic plan?

In preparation for the discussion session you will have on the influence of culture in the care of pediatric patients, consider the following questions:

1. What is cultural competency?

2. What skills, attitudes, perspectives are required for"competency"?

3. How should these skills, attitudes, perspectives be taught to students?

4. What needs to be changed or improved in our curriculum on this?