Culturally insensitive patients - page 4

by tippytootagon

A little background: I am Chinese American. I live in a university town in the Midwest that is fairly multicultural, but that is also surrounded by farming communities that are generally 100% white and very insulated. I work... Read More


  1. 1
    Quote from sharpeimom
    I just remind myself sometimes that the average person isn't too observant and doesn't know much that's out of his own family-based experience. Hopefully, with the use of computers making us more global, that will soon change.
    You hit the nail on the head right there!!!!!
    sharpeimom likes this.
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    My daughter in law is a first generation American of Hmong heritage. When people ask where she is from, she answers honestly: "Oshkosh!"
    sharpeimom likes this.
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    at risk of being the devils advocate..... just an observation

    I have come across a few people in the short time I have spent in nj... from the name and appearance of the person... one COULD assume they or their families at some point have emigrated from another part of the world..... Yet most people ( in my experience) have no clue about their heritage other than hearsay.... what ever happened to being proud of your heritage and educating other people who may be interested in it.

    I often have felt as if I am being interrogated by patients... who were perhaps genuinely curious due to my appearance..... at times its left me pondering.. If I am insecure...if I am good enough.... perhaps even though I am born and bred from that land... truly is it mine?

    Just a thought.
  4. 0
    I admit I didn't read past the OP. Mostly because it sounds like you work at my hospital, based on the description of it + the general locale. Hmm.
  5. 1
    'they are just curious'

    No. Not curious, just ignorant. A shame america is this closed. Grown people who are surprised that a chinese person was born in this country....
    calivianya likes this.
  6. 0
    Try being from Canada and working in the U.S... the making fun never ends. I have a sense of humor though and give it right back. Its not my patients though, its my co-workers.
  7. 0
    Quote from GerberaDaisy
    I have experienced a similar situation, although it wasn't a patient asking the question...it was another nurse! I was a travel nurse working in Southern California. I am white (with quite pale skin, due to those long Canadian winters) with blonde hair and brown eyes.
    Upon learning I was from Canada she exclaimed, "but you don't LOOK Canadian !"

    Say wha-at?

    I was literally too surprised (and at the moment too busy) to ask her what did she mean.
    So I never did find out what she thought Canadians "looked like" but I have often wondered. Lol

    To the OP- that sounds very frustrating! And while I'm sure your patients are just being curious, there does
    come a point when good manners (on their part) dictates they need to stop being so
    clueless & nosy!!
    We have floppy heads, beady eyes, and square tires, how aboot that. Most of the sterotypes ive encountered originated from Southpark. But yes most people are quite "surprised" I am Canadian, once I got , " I could tell you are not from here, your too inteligent" Oh boy
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    I was born in Canada. Not the same as what the OP has gone thru, but those silly American comments do get to you.
  9. 1
    I'm an Asian American too but if it was me, I'd make a joke out of it. Let's face it, you're going to meet a wealth of different types of patients. I haven't encountered any problems like that yet, but I did get funny looks for being young. Pt: "Wow, how old are you? You look like you're 12." Me: "Why yes, I am 12 years old. I finished up nursing school while enrolled in middle school, and now I am here to take care of you." The dear old lady laughed.

    Having a smile on your face plus some sense of humor helps.
    sharpeimom likes this.
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    The patients may just be curious, but honestly - don't they have better things to be curious about? I get that they may be sick and/or nervous, but would they really want someone to be interrogating THEM about their race/beliefs/age? It tells you a lot about how close-minded and judgmental those people are. I don't get race/beliefs questions because I am a boring whitebread Southern American living in the South, but I do get the age thing and it makes me really mad. Don't get me wrong, I joke and laugh about it and don't let my patients see how annoyed I get, because that would be terrible customer service, but it really does bug me.

    If only people would ask, "How old are you?" instead of stating "You don't look like you're old enough to be here." Why people insist on saying things in such a hostile manner instead of just asking a neutral question always bugs me. I'm always glad those people are my patients, and not anyone I know outside of the hospital... I can only imagine how much more irritated I'd be if I started getting comments about my ethnic heritage too.


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