How do GPs practice cultural humility?


New research hopes to improve health outcomes by identifying gaps practitioners have in understanding and applying cultural humility.

Research led by the University of Melbourne aims to improve healthcare delivery and the doctor-patient relationship.

According to researchers from the University of Melbourne, developing professional cultural humility is a ‘key strategy’ to help tackle health inequities in Australia.

Defined as “a shift from mastery of understanding other cultures to an approach of personal responsibility in addressing systemic barriers that affect marginalized groups,” cultural humility is also “positively associated” with improving health outcomes for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) patients.

That’s why researchers, including RACGP President Adjunct Professor Karen Price, are asking practitioners to take part in a new project focused on assessing cultural humility among Australian GPs.

The research will see GPs take part in a 10-15 minute online survey about their interactions with patients from different cultural backgrounds, their experience of cultural humility training and their interest in further training in this area.

According to Professor Price, cultural humility is a fundamental aspect of health care delivery.

“We need to recognize the many ways in which a sense of self and a sense of health are experienced in other cultures,” she said. newsGP.

“By remaining openly curious, we can let other ways of seeing the world flourish. Only when we make room for it can we understand the patient’s biographical story about their illness or disease.

“Then we can engage in true shared decision-making, which is an empathetic ability to truly enter into dialogue with our patients’ worldview.

“Our Western reductionist view is helpful but limiting if we impose it on others without acknowledging each unique person we are privileged to help.”

The project aims to examine GPs’ self-assessment of their cultural humility and its impact on doctor-patient relationships. It will also assess GPs’ confidence in communicating COVID-19 public health messages to CALD patients and identify the need for additional cultural competency training.

Dr Olivia O’Donoghue is a descendant of the people of the Yankunytjatjara and Narungga Nations and the RACGP’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Censor – the first Aboriginal person to be appointed to this position.

She said newsGP that cultural humility is an “essential attribute” for general practitioners.

“For me, cultural humility is about understanding myself, understanding my values, affinities and biases, my attitudes and behaviors and how these affect the people around me,” said Dr O ‘Donoghué.

“It’s about knowing and feeling that I’m not an expert on my own, let alone someone else’s culture, so it’s important to be open when interacting with people. others, to show a respectful interest in them and their culture, and to have a genuine commitment to understanding their lived and intergenerational experience.

When applied to a healthcare setting, cultural humility involves healthcare practitioners recognizing unconscious biases and systemic racism that impact individual and community health, addressing their own biases and cultural assumptions and learn to interact with patients from different cultural backgrounds to provide health care in a respectful manner. and in a sensitive way.

Olivia-O-Donoghue-article.jpgAboriginal physician Dr Olivia O’Donoghue believes that cultural humility is a “fundamental attribute” for demonstrating cultural understanding and safety.

In addition to seeking self-assessments of cultural humility by GPs, the project will also aim to improve cultural safety.

“We hope that the information gathered through this survey can help identify gaps in existing cultural humility training in medical school and specialty training,” the researchers write.

“Understanding the current landscape within a cross section of the medical community will help develop methods to address this aspect of healthcare with the ultimate goal of improving quality of care and outcomes for all patients in Australia.”

By identifying cultural differences within the doctor-patient relationship, it will also allow the patient to take full advantage of all the healthcare services available to them, according to the research team.

In the area of ​​Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in particular, Dr O’Donoghue says cultural humility is key to building relationships, respect and trust.

“Cultural humility is a fundamental attribute for demonstrating cultural understanding and cultural safety,” she said.

‘[It] is a fluid state of gaining experience, self-reflection, self-improvement and re-evaluation.

The RACGP and National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organization‘s cultural safety resource center can also help healthcare providers.

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Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders cultural humility cultural safety cultural and linguistic diversity general medicine research

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