Teaching communication with ethnic minority patients: Ten recommendations
Introduction: Culturally competent communication is indispensable for medical practice in an ethnically diverse society. This article offers recommendations to teach such communication skills based on the experiences of members of a Dutch NMVO Special Interest Group on 'Diversity'. Method: A questionnaire with three open-ended questions on recommendations for training in culturally competent communication was sent to all members (n=35). Returned questionnaires (n=23) were analysed qualitatively with a thematic coding framework based on educational themes emerging from the data. Recommendations: All students need to be educated in culturally competent communication. Teachers should stimulate awareness of personal biases and an open attitude. Teach the three core communication skills, listening, exploring and checking, and offer practice with a professional interpreter. Knowledge content should focus on mechanisms relevant to various ethnic groups. Offer students a variety of experiences in a safe environment. All involved should be aware that stereotyping is a pitfall. Discussion: Training in communication skills for consultation with ethnic minority patients cannot be separated from teaching issues of awareness and knowledge. The shared views on the content of these communication trainings are in line with general patient-centred approaches. The development of proper training in this field demands specific efforts of those involved.