Dealing with Multinational Hospital Staff

The field of medicine is ever evolving, and advancing with time. With such changes, it is also necessary to explore patients from all possible angles which is why nowadays most hospitals prefer to have doctors and nurses belonging to different ethnicities. Also with the boom in migration, patients too span across multiple cultures, so having doctors from similar backgrounds is preferable for them. However, several problems have been found to be associated with this growing base of diverse co-workers.

With each doctor having a different approach to patients and even different attitudes of approach, clashes can often arise between the doctors.

This leads to problems in establishing good work dynamics between members in the hospital. In the US alone, several healthcare staff members have reported to have faced workplace discrimination or aggression from fellow workers.

According to the statistics presented by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, about 33,937 charges of race-based workplace discrimination were filed in 2008 alone.

This was reported to have been a 15% rise from 2007, and was still considered an underestimated figure as most minorities do not report such incidents out of fear.

 This leads to constant fear or an inferiority complex, often leading to depression and dampened performance. Keeping these incidents in mind, a research 1 was carried out to determine the association between reported cases of workplace discrimination, micro-aggression and depressive symptoms present in employees in a multi-ethnic hospital.

Fourteen percent of the participants, in this study, within the last year had experienced workplace discrimination, of which fifty-seven percent attributed this to race/ethnicity differences. They recommended future studies to measure micro-aggressive behaviours in the workplace. These problems can be addressed through counselling and encouraging employees to interact with one another through seminars or meetings or feedbacks.

Recommendations have been made to help develop a productive and accommodating environment for all doctors and nurses to work in harmony. To decrease any of the problems reported above it is necessary to help develop good communication skills within departments. Establishing service lines might help with this, but making your staff aware about these issues, how to avoid making any discriminations and to accept everyone as a member of the hospital is equally important. It is also advised to make guidelines like the Queens Health has made to brief the doctors, nurses and staff about these issues.

Keeping these recommendations and modifications in mind it is entirely possible to remove such issues from happening.

    1.    Race Soc Probl. 2010 Mar 1/ 2(1): 19–30.

    2.    J Nurs Care Qual. 1997 Aug; 11 (6): 52-9

Written by Dr. Aref Alabed ,