Cross-cultural Communication course for GPs
This session considers how cultural differences between doctor and patient may create uncertainty that can reduce the effectiveness of the consultation. This can be recognised and overcome to enhance the consultation.
This session was reviewed by Khyati Bakhai and last updated in June 2021.
By the end of this session you will be able to:
- discuss how cultural differences may cause you to feel uncertain
- describe how this uncertainty affects you and your practice
- describe simple strategies for overcoming uncertainty so you can respond flexibly to patients
All consultations are cross-cultural. There will inevitably be differences of some kind in cultural background between doctor and patient. This may be, for example, social, ethnic, religious and so on. Relating to others can be more difficult with those who seem or appear different from us.
Jackie Beavan qualified as a nurse in 1971 and was a hospital nurse until the mid-eighties. Since then, she has worked in education and training and has a special interest in communication, equality and diversity.
She has a BA in English, a BSc in Health Science and an MA in Linguistics. In 2002, she helped to update the second edition of ’Valuing Diversity’, an educational resource for GPs, commissioned by the RCGP and edited by Joe Kai. She was also involved in the research and development of ’PROCEED: Professionals responding to ethnic diversity and cancer’, an educational resource commissioned by Cancer Research UK, also edited by Joe Kai.
Jackie is based at the Interactive Studies Unit in the Department of Primary Care and General Practice at the University of Birmingham. Her main role there is to deliver courses in advanced communication skills to senior health professionals working in cancer care. She is also involved in delivering training in communication, equality and human rights for health professionals and medical students. Currently, she is working with Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust on a human rights pilot project in conjunction with the Department of Health and the British Institute of Human Rights.
Joe Kai is Professor and Head of Primary Care at the University of Nottingham’s School of Graduate Medicine. He has been an inner city GP for 18 years, originally in Newcastle upon Tyne where he trained, and as part of the innovative general practice behind the West End Health Resource Centre in Benwell. He now practises in central Derby.
His health services research seeks to enhance care in ethnically diverse and disadvantaged contexts in a range of clinical areas, including applied genetics. He leads a national programme to support genetic assessment and screening, using haemoglobin disorders as a model (www.pegasus.nhs.uk). He currently leads the primary care programme of the NIHR Collaboration on Applied Health Research (CLAHRC) for Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire & Lincolnshire.
His books include Ethnicity, Health & Primary Care (OUP, 2004) and the BMA award winning Primary Care in Urban Disadvantaged Communities (Radcliffe, 2004). He has lead development of widely used educational resources to facilitate interactive health professional training. These include Valuing Diversity (2nd ed, RCGP, 2006), following its award winning first edition in 1999; and PROCEED: Professionals responding to cancer and diversity (Cancer Research UK, 2005) now adopted in national communication skills training for