Cultural competence is an extremely important skill to have when offering patient centered care in our increasingly diverse society. As Dr. Hammerich mentioned in our session when treating patients we must consider not only our patients physical needs but also their preferences and bio-psychosocial needs as well (1). Many of these preferences and bio-psychosocial needs are heavily influenced by racial ethnic cultural and linguistic values of the patient (1). Taking such factors into consideration can optimize your patient’s comfort level and your ability to build a rapport with the patient which will ultimately affect their satisfaction with the care they receive (1). Everyone’s outlook on life is influenced by their own culture and life experience (1). This is important to understand for chiropractors so they can put aside cultural or other biases to be truly empathetic towards the patient (1). For all the above reasons and many others no two people are the same and therefore no two patients can be treated the exact same way.
During the completion of the online learning module I learned many interesting things about how multiculturalism and cultural competency relates to chiropractic specifically. The chiropractic profession just like society as whole has historically been influenced by racial prejudices. I was shocked to learn that it was once though that white people must be adjusted on different tables than black people and that the Palmer College of Chiropractic previously refused black students admission (1). I was so surprised to learn this because I view public displays of intolerance such as in these examples the furthest thing from professional behaviour. Along with serving a diverse patient body, chiropractic has grown to have a diverse constituency of practitioners so cultural competencies are also important professional interactions between colleagues (1). Chiropractic has come a long way but we must keep up with cultural competencies to integrate our profession and help treat members of each of the various cultures present in our society. These values are reflected in CMCC policy and the chiropractic oath sworn by every CMCC graduate (1).
Patients from certain demographics are at a higher risk for particular medical conditions (1). This may be due to cultural beliefs may not align with the practices of western medicine (1). In my small group session we discussed Middle Eastern culture which some of my class mates identified as a part of. We discussed this culture’s use of ghee, a high fat content food, in the preparation of many of their traditional cultural dishes. This type of diet is believed to be one of the reasons this population has a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease. In our discussion everyone agreed that because ghee is a traditional element of this culture any recommendations regarding eliminating it from the diet must be conveyed sensitively so it is not seen as insulting or as culturally insensitive. We also believe that cultural traditions such as traditional dance could be used as a source of activity to promote healthy lifestyles in this population.
The LGBTQ+ is another historically disadvantaged group whose needs must be considered by modern chiropractors. In our group meeting we discussed how something as simple as providing many options for gender and preferred title on clinic intake forms can make patients from this group feel respected. We agreed that it is important for clinicians to respect a patient’s wishes not only for medical decisions but in all aspects of their interactions.
- Hammerich, K. eLearning Module: Cultural Competency [podcast on the internet]. Knowledge Information Resources Online; 2016 [cited 2016 Nov 14]. Available from: https://courses.cmcc.ca/portal/site/1fcb32f1-55e8-4c4e-8088-859c54001146/page/0684f345-4b3f-471f-80f1-7e4a3f1ecb49