Intended for healthcare professionals

Student Reviews

Cultural “Deafness”: about more than language

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 01 July 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:0607306b
  1. Emma Joanne Wilding, first year medical student1
  1. 1Royal Free and University College Medical School, London

Even before we arrive at medical school it is obvious that good communication skills are vital for a successful and hassle-free medical career. Nodding your head while a patient talks and you pretend to write, when you are in fact completing a sudoku (which, for those who don't know, is a numerical puzzle), is nobody's idea of good communication. But are we really doing our best to communicate?

One of the attractions of a medical career is that you can expose yourself to not only a wonderful array of pathogens but also a wide range of people. The opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and cultures is for some one of the great allures of medicine (and also backpacking). But this is also one of the profession's greatest challenges.

A recent topic of discussion in the media is the refusal of Deaf parents to allow their deaf children to have cochlear implants, which could provide some form of audible stimulation. So what am I trying to say? Am I implying that all health professionals should run out and …

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