Barriers to Effective Communication

Barriers to Effective Communication

What barriers to effective communication could occur with a health care professional colleague who is culturally diverse? How can these barriers affect patient outcome when effective communication is essential?

Language: Misunderstandings are common to people who speak the same language let alone those who speak different languages (Kaissi, 2008). One of the major issues when it comes to language barrier is the pronunciation or interpretation of some words. A word may mean two different things in different languages and therefore bringing a misunderstanding in the workplace.

Behavior: Behavior is also critical in communication in the work environment. Cultural differences in body language may also lead to miscommunications and therefore reducing the effectiveness of the team. For example in United states eye contact is critical when communicating to show that you are attentive but when it comes to Asia eye contact during a communication is considered a disrespect or challenging the authority (Kaissi, 2008).

Ethnocentrism: This is judging others according to the values or standards of their group. This hinder employee’s moral as it restricts their interactions with their colleagues. Sometime some cultures consider some personal issues private while others don’t and therefore disclosing this in front of colleagues could affect relationships.

What assumptions can you make about a healthcare professional colleague you do not know well? How can these assumptions impact your communication if your customs are different from your healthcare professional colleague’s customs and you do not understand their customs completely?

Language awareness: Most of the people think that everyone understands their language and therefore most of the time triggers the first communication. This could have an impact if some expects their fellow colleague to follow some steps or procedures given using a language they don’t understand as it could lead to errors.

Task execution capability: This mostly happens in operations or treatment cases where a doctor may assume that the nurses are aware of all the necessary tools and equipment needed to perform the procedure which might not be the case and therefore might cause confusion during the procedure. It is therefore important for the doctors to confirm that everything they need is ready before starting a procedure.

Rank or level in the medical facility: An assumption of a position of a colleague could also lead to communication issues as one may address their seniors in an inappropriate manner assuming they are in the same level. This therefore might lead to a rough kickoff at the beginning and therefore affecting the work relationship.

How can you overcome language barriers or make assumptions not based on facts to increase team unity and motivation? How important is it for you to take responsibility and improve your cultural competence?

The best way to overcome language barriers is trough setting a standard language in the work place that is known by all such that there will be an easy understanding by the employees (Ponte, 2011). This can also be overcome by doing some reshuffles after some time to make sure that there are regular interactions between people from different cultures for easy linkage and collaboration. Culture competences determine effectiveness of the employees as the way they link and associate contributes to the general output or group effectiveness at the end.

What specific language barriers can result when you communicate with a patient or a consumer who speaks limited English? How can you gather information or educate when language barriers are present?

Misdiagnosis: This might occur since such a patient may not be able to fully express their symptoms and therefore could read to misdiagnosis.

Misunderstandings: This mostly occurs when a patient is given a dosage to use or directed to a certain wing in the hospital. They might not understand the directions and therefore end up taking a lot of time to effectively go through the treatment process.

How do you adjust to conflicting values or traditions from patients in a specific religion or culture? For example, patients who are Jehovah’s Witness religion may refuse blood products or other religions may not eat pork. How do you adjust dietary restrictions communicating in a collaborative manner with the dietary department?

The best way to handle such an issue is to first have the basics about the religion or culture before addressing them. This is to reduce chances of going against their beliefs or cultures this could affect the relationship. As a nurse or a medical practitioner it is recommended that someone should be neutral and avoid chances of being driven by their culture or religion in resolving the patient’s issues as the might make them feel like their privacy is invades or they are not respected. In matters of dietary issues when dealing with Jehovah witness religion or other religions with some restrictions it is important to respect their beliefs and therefore address them differently. This is done by categorizing them and ensuring that they don’t interact or end up criticizing each other’s beliefs as this could affect their relationship.

What are the benefits of a healthcare organization to provide cultural awareness and training for each employee to better understand and accept others? Does your current or past organization provide cultural awareness training? If not, what will be your recommendation to your management team?

A successful healthcare organization is attained through teamwork. The goals of the healthcare must be in line with the goals of the medical team. It is also important for the employees to know how to relate with one another as they have diversifies views and cultures and therefore they can only work together effectively if they understand and relate well. Culture awareness training help people link and create standards in working together. This help in avoiding collusions and other issues that might act as cultural barriers and therefore affect the business. I have worked in several healthcare centers and the one I am working with currently have training sessions for the management and the employees on job relates issues and also the crosscutting issues in which they also deal with cultural awareness issues. This has greatly contributed towards promoting a peaceful relationship between the management and the other employees.





Kaissi, A. (2008). The role of nursing in bridging the gap between managers and physicians in hospitals. The Health Care Manager, 27(2), 113–117.

Ponte, C. D. (2011). Improving communication in the health care setting. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 68(8), 666–667.

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