Intercultural communication

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    International patterns of globalisation, migration and mobility require effective intercultural communication. The people of Australia make up one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse nations in the world. They speak hundreds of languages and most of the world's religions are worshipped here, with 27 per cent of Australians having been born overseas (ABS, 2010). In an increasingly globalised world and mobile workforce, competence in intercultural communication is an important ingredient for harmonious workplaces, as well as for accessible, safe and appropriate professional service delivery (Australian Government NHMRC, 2006). Culturally competent interpersonal communications reduce misunderstandings, misdiagnoses and time wasted; they increase access to and compliance with management plans, boost staff and patient satisfaction, and encourage ethical practices (Le Roux, 2002). It is a universal human right to have access to high-quality services (Australian Government NHMRC, 2006). A recent quality and safety report identified miscommunication as a crucial factor that led to 25 per cent of all critical incidents in New South Wales (NSW Health, 2005). People-centred approaches to communicating with clients are prominently taught in undergraduate education and professional development, and relate well to good intercultural communication practices. Their common key features are valuing clients' perceptions, expectations, fears and hopes and, at the same time, appreciating your own perspectives, encouraging involved participation of clients, and focusing on practical, functional and appropriate goals. In this chapter we discuss theories of ntercultural communication, and consider key principles and skills that prepare health scientists for working effectively in culturally diverse workplaces and ensuring that services are accessible, acceptable, safe and appropriate for the diverse needs of clients.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCommunicating in the health sciences
    Place of PublicationSouth Melbourne, VIC
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Number of pages11
    EditionThird / 20
    ISBN (Print)9780195579048
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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