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Z Psychosom Med Psychother. 2017 Sep;63(3):280-296. doi: 10.13109/zptm.2017.63.3.280.

['How strange is the patient to me?'].

Zeitschrift fur Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie

[Article in German]
André Karger, Heide Lindtner-Rudolph, Robert Mroczynski, Alexander Ziem, Ljiljana Joksimovic


  1. Klinisches Institut für Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf Moorenstr. 5 D-40225 Düsseldorf Deutschland Klinisches Institut für Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie.
  2. Institut für Germanistik Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf Deutschland Germanistik - Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf.

PMID: 28974172 DOI: 10.13109/zptm.2017.63.3.280


'How strange is the patient to me?' Physicians' attitudes and expectations toward treating patients with a migration background Objectives: Undergraduate and postgraduate training in cultural competence remains a challenging issue. It might be useful to integrate culturally sensitive learning objectives in existing curricula. As part of a needs assessment, this qualitative study examined the prototypical experiences in clinical routines with patients with a migration background.

METHODS: Twenty physicians took part in half-structured narrative interviews, which were then analyzed by linguistic-ethnographic conversation analysis.

RESULTS: The main reasons for difficulties in patient-physician relation proved to be language barriers. Assignments of professional interpreters were rated critically. Physicians attributed the responsibility for successful communication mainly to the patient. The physicians saw little need for training in cultural competence.

CONCLUSIONS: The integration of learning objectives related to cultural sensibility in existing curricula would seem to be useful, especially because the physicians interviewed reported little need for additional training on their own. The importance of implied negative attitudes and stereotypes in creating a culturally sensitive approach should be taken into account.

Keywords: Intercultural Competence; Language Barriers; Medical Training; Patients with a Migration Background; Physician-Patient Communication

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