Medical assistance in a multicultural world - Bioethics

Medical care in a multicultural world

One of the features of the modern world, related to the intensively going processes of globalization, is cultural diversity. This term is understood as a variety of ways of life and patterns of behavior, belief systems and values, ways of forming new communities and associations of people, forms of awareness of the identity of individuals and social groups. Cultural diversity is highly characteristic of our country with its multinational and multi-confessional composition, as well as with drastic differences in the living conditions of the regions.

Cultural diversity will continue to grow, creating, among other things, many difficulties for the health system. It should be understood that cultural diversity is not just a collection of very different people and different problems, but first of all it is an absolutely new situation closely connected with globalization and the continuing development of democracy, the rule of law and civil society. Culturally excellent individuals and groups do not want to be marginalized in these new conditions, but actively fight for their rights, guarantees, freedom, dignity, autonomy, etc.

Cultural characteristics of individuals and groups significantly affect their position in society, including the possibility of effective assistance from health professionals. For example, cultural characteristics will influence how patients perceive their problems, in what ways they try to cope with them, what relationships and connections develop within a given social group, how they build their relations with the rest of society.

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Therefore, in modern health care, the importance of the level of preparedness of medical workers for activities in the conditions of cultural diversity is increasingly attached, special manuals on this subject are being published. Today it is widely recognized that a modern medical worker must have so-called cultural competence.

Cultural competence can be defined as the ability of a health worker to effectively interact with cultures and cultures different from the culture that dominates the society (in particular, with individuals and groups different from his own cultural attitudes) and help them solve them problems based on:

1) special knowledge about this cultural community;

2) understanding their own needs;

3) special skills to establish contact with them and organize the necessary interventions and interactions.

When providing medical care (to an individual, family, group), the doctor should pay attention to the cultural characteristics of patients, understand their relationship with the closest environment, community, etc. If this patient has certain cultural differences, then the medical worker can not do without a good knowledge of certain specific aspects (ethnic, racial, religious, associated with special health status, etc.).

Understanding the problem of cultural diversity for medical professionals is, among other things, understanding the uniqueness of each patient and developing an individual approach to it. Thus, the possession of special knowledge and skills of working with culturally different patients becomes one of the new moral duties of a doctor in a modern, dynamically changing world.

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