I am a student in a health care profession. I see many different people every day that come to seek treatment at my school. Most patients are local to our area, but many come to our school’s clinic from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds. Our curriculum has recently been updated in accordance with the board of accreditation that our state mandates for professional schools. This curriculum includes a course entitled ‘Cultural Awareness.’ The goals of the course, as stated by the syllabus and our professor, is to:
- Emphasize, illustrate and analyze how patient’s background, culture, beliefs and norms may impact health and health outcomes;
- Enhance understanding of legal boundaries and provider’s responsibilities in the delivery of care;
- Enhance the students understanding of cultural, various societal values and traditions that must be considered during the delivery of care, doctor-patient interactions and treatment outcomes;
- Increase awareness of the challenges and mechanisms for providing services to special populations. Except for the second objective, I am not interested in learning about any of these. I am going to illustrate to you why classes like these are a farce, a waste of our time as professionals, and demeaning to every intelligent culture.
As a professional healthcare worker, I am bound by a code of ethics. In fact, this code is a defining aspect of the culture found among healthcare professionals. This code includes virtues like veracity, nonmaleficence, justice, beneficence, and patient autonomy. These virtues lay the groundwork for almost every aspect of clinical decision-making in healthcare. It is a defining aspect of healthcare culture. This code is well recognized by people within and without the healthcare system as it is the basis for the credibility patients give to their doctors, nurses, dentists, optometrists, etc.