seminar-euroafricaIn recent years, issues regarding cultural differences and transculturalism in medical ethics and bioethics have been gaining increasing importance. The migration seen all over the world for economic, political and existential reasons creates a multicultural challenge in those societies affected by migration, which demands competent and quick medical decisions and treatment.

The meeting of doctors, patients or team members as individuals from different cultures or religions has in many societies become part of everyday life and in the medical profession, could be seen as a problem by those working in the profession or their patients. In medical practice, the different world views and values systems cause a wide range of problems of misunderstanding, mentality and even conflicts of interests between the doctors or nursing staff on the one hand and foreign patients on the other, and this can be attributed to their respective religious and cultural backgrounds.

The subjects of culture, tropical medicine and tropical nursing are barely given proper attention in medical, bioethical research or teaching in their normative and medical significance, much less integrated into medical and nursing training. This lack of any discussion about specific culturally determined areas of ethical conflict in medical and nursing training results in insufficient intercultural sensitivity and competence in those being trained, and therefore causes uncertainty in the area of medical and nursing work and decision making. This in turn leads to medical care which is less than ideal and has a negative effect on the patient’s well-being.

The main areas are:
• Models of transcultural nursing ( M. Leininger, D. Domenig)
• Cultural definitions, recognising your own cultural identity.
• What is “culturally sensitive/transcultural care” and “intercultural competence”?
• Discovering other ways of life, both in the nursing field and in everyday personal life.
• Becoming aware of your own prejudices and influences.
• Dealing with ethnic discrimination.
• The life situations of immigrants in Germany.
• Intercultural care and theories on how to approach foreign cultures in the nursing environment.
• Characteristic features within the different ways of life of migrants.
• Language barriers and body language.
• Eating habits and taboos.
• Caring for patients from Muslim societies.
• Circumcision of girls and women.
• The needs of different cultures: religions, diet, birth, death and after death.
• Hygiene, family planning and care by men, women or members of the same sex.
• Blood transfusions and organ transplants.
• Fasting and diabetes: illness during Ramadan.
• Experiences and complaints of pain.
• Family structure and the position of women in different cultures.
• Families and visitors in hospitals.
• Understanding of health and illness.
• Planning nursing care with the help of a case history.
• Discussion of examples of nursing situations in order to better understand foreign cultures.
Tropical medicine, travel medicine and tropical nursing
• How can culturally sensitive information be communicated?
• How do I recognise when an African is pale?
• What are the symptoms of malaria, dengue fever and rabies? Working in the health service in developing countries.

Learning objectives and competences:
You will learn to deal sensitively and flexibly with culturally specific forms of communication and behaviour. You will get to grips with cultural standards which are important when working with people who are from a different cultural background and are therefore used to thinking and behaving differently. You will further reflect on how you yourself are influenced by your culture in terms of your values, your behaviour and your attitudes. You will receive a number of suggestions and tips on how you can improve your effectiveness in multicultural work contexts and avoid conflicts. You will learn strategies for combating intercultural conflict situations and improve your own effectiveness in intercultural work contexts.

Target group:
Medical personnel, nursing staff and managers, nursing mentors, student nurses, management personnel and therapists in the health care system, specialists, trainers, disseminators, teaching staff and mediators.


Medicine based on evidence tends to focus on the biological body, irrespective of the cultural background of the person whose body it is. But nursing or medicine ...whether practiced as an art or a science does not exist independent of culture. The need for intercultural eacn-culturecommunication keeps proping up its head in the practice of evidence based medicine.

The need is never clearly seen when the practitioners and patients share a common culture. But when there are enormous cultural differences between them, the practice of medicine can become compromised or even end up lethal.

Transcultural communication is an art…an art fraught with pitfalls, especially in the medical arena! And when health care providers and patients talk to each other via a cultural divide, the challenges they face to establish an effective cross cultural communication can be intensified if social, economic, or language differences are also involved! The best intentioned statement or action can be misinterpreted by one or the other and disrupt their attempt to communicate or derail it completely. I have seen this happen many times as a medical worker in many German clinics.

I have also witnessed many caring, well-meaning, and intelligent European medical practitioners due to ignorance and sometimes fear of the unknown, deeply offend many foreign patients and thus hinder their acceptance of modern medical health care.I have witnessed and still experience many patients with foreign cultural backgrounds, trapped in their own cultural boundaries, infuriating and alienating well-intentioned health care providers to the point that effective treatment and therapy became less frequent or even stopped temporarily and budgets for special services event reduced to the lowest minimum.

We have witnessed each group bitterly complain about the other as the lousy cross cultural communication between them started…and sputtered…then stalled…time and time again. Professional experiences have taught us that people do insist that medicine be practiced holistically. A holistic medicine is one that doesn’t ignore the mind of the patient, which includes all those thoughts, feelings, and perceptions which are conditioned by cultural influences.

The demand for medical practitioners to take these cultural perspectives into account in their practice of medicine will continue to exist as long as cultural diversity does! Modern health care providers will need to refurbish their intercultural communication skills, especially when practicing in areas where there is more cultural diversity.


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Firm: EuroAfricaCentral Network

Contact Person:
Chris Ezeh

Contact Data:
Tel: +49-40-50742042
Fax: +49-40-50742044

Chris Ezeh BA Mass Communication

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