A Guide to Information in Section C
Everyone approaches illness as a result of their own experiences,
including education, social conditions, economic factors,
cultural background, and spiritual traditions, among others. In
our increasingly diverse society, patients may experience illness
in ways that are different from their health professional’s
experience. Sensitivity to a patient’s view of the world
enhances the ability to seek and reach mutually desirable
outcomes. If these differences are ignored, unintended outcomes
could result, such as misunderstanding instructions and poor
The following tools are intended to help you review and consider
important factors that may have an impact on health care. Always
remember that even within a specific tradition, local and
personal variations in belief and behavior exist. Unconscious
stereotyping and untested generalizations can lead to disparities
in access to service and quality of care. The bottom line is: if
you don’t know your patient well, ask respectful questions. Most
people will appreciate your openness and respond in kind.
The following materials are available in this section:
Cultural Background: Information on Special Topics
Points of reference to become familiar with diverse cultural backgrounds.
Let’s Talk About Sex
A guide to help you understand and discuss gender roles, modesty, and privacy preferences that vary widely among different people when taking sexual health history information.
Pain Management Across Cultures
A guide to help you understand the ways people may use to describe pain and approach to treatment options.
Promoting Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness: A Self-Assessment Checklist for Personnel Providing Health Care Services
An assessment tool that can be used by managers to determine how well the health care delivery setting is meeting the needs of its diverse patients.