Its been a while after I am writing my post. I opened my wordpress today after 6 days. I am really sorry my friends but my school has started plus full-time job. So I don’t get enough time! Still some of you regularly visit my blog and I am really thank ful for doing that. Thank You all..
Role of PT in Global Health care reform.
Learning languages and cultural differences is not a challenge but rather a barrier in delivering proper care in our health care systems today. Seriously I personally think that this semester of Global Health care is the most essential semester of all the semesters that I have studied before. Apart from learning from books and slides in the previous semester, I assume studying Global Health Care opens up the gates towards application based Health Care system. Global Health care helps not only to understand the health care system as a norm but also prepares us to embrace it globally. Global Health care opens up the challenging phases for Physical therapist in order to combat the cultural competencies in order to deliver the health care system perfectly.
According to Masin and Tischenko (2007), cultural competency has been recognized as one of the essential skills for physical therapists working in clinical practices today. Many a times it has been noted that cultural competency is not only necessary in delivering better health care but is also necessary in acquiring jobs based upon specific locations. Language is the first and foremost mediator in building a relationship. Therefore, location centered jobs requires physical therapists to be bilingual and be able to communicate with different ethnic culture groups. Lopopolo, Schaeffer, and Nosse (2004), indicated that physical therapists need to have “extensive knowledge” of communication techniques and they should be “skilled” in applying these techniques in a clinical environment. Furthermore, learning cultural differences, languages and ethnic backgrounds to some extent helps the physical therapist to develop a good rapport along with the patient-client relationship.
I recently had a patient three days back. The patient is a Puerto Rican 73-year old female who came to visit her grandchildren. The patient complained of low back pain and was referred for physical therapy. I saw the patient during her initial evaluation. The patient was able to understand English to some extent but was unable to respond back. The patient tried to explain in Spanish. The patient got really nervous and started fumbling with the words as she tried to elaborate her problem of the lower back. As I was able to grasp few words I asked her to come and have a sit near to my computer. As she was speaking I tried to enter few words in Google translate and translated them to English. Thank God I was able to see and understand what was going on. As she tried to communicate I tried to write in English and I converted that into Spanish and I communicated with her. Slowly and gradually I noted that she felt less nervous and after few minutes she hugged me and felt relived.
Masin and Tischenko (2007), considered liberalizing cultural competency on the basis that Physical therapist learn the clinical Spanish. It is not necessary for therapist to learn the language as a whole but to learn the basic concept of the language in order to ask the pain scale and assessment and basic interview question.
I think the main area where Physical Therapist lack in cultural competency is “lack of time”. If PTs are working in a vast culturally mixed background it takes hard efforts and time in order to learn the basic language.
I still think that when PTs apply for continuing education credits, diligent attention should be taken by the boards to keep subjects based on language learning or learning cultural competencies. At the least PTs should be given extra compensation and time to learn the basic language in order to provide better health care to our deserving patients.
Masin, H., & Tischenko, A.K., (2007). Professionalism, Attitudes, Beliefs and Transformation of the Learning Experience. Journal of Physical Therapy Education.2007; 21(3).
Lopopolo, R.B., Schafer, D.S., & Noss, L.J., (2004). Leadership, administration, management, and professionalism (LAMP) in physical therapy: a Delphi study. Phys Ther. 2004; 84:137-150.
Lazaro, R.T., (2007). Improving the Cultural Diversity Awareness of Physical Therapy Educators. Journal of Cultural Diversity. 2007; 14(3).