Jul 31st 2018

Workplace Communication in Culturally Diverse Healthcare Organisations

A Massey University research study “Where are we? Workplace communication between Registered Nurses in culturally diverse healthcare organisations” has recently been released by Associate Professor Margaret Brunton, from Massey’s School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing. Importantly, this is the first identified study of the cross-cultural communication interface between Registered Nurses from diverse ethnicities in the New Zealand health workforce.

The findings of the study provide insight into the real and tangible difficulties for newcomers and for New Zealand health professionals in the health workplace. These include: a polarised workplace, ethnocentrism and “othering”, value-based conflicts, institutional distancing and a lonely journey for many migrant nurses.

Some key recommendations point to a way forward to ensuring that culturally competent inter-professional relationships are maintained and team-work improved. For example, orientating migrant into the integral role of healthcare teams in NZ (issues around hierarchy are especially important); and DHBs committing to prioritise cultural competency training by for example, by offering CALD courses and resources.

The authors suggest that managerial work includes the need to both navigate and negotiate situations of conflict and ambiguity. Some level of support and training for managers would assist as there was evidence many struggled to manage issues centred on diverse cultural values and styles of communication. A summary and the full report in PDF are available upon request from the NZNO Library.

Additional relevant information:

eCALD® Services offer the following courses and a toolkit for staff and managers to address workplace communication in culturally diverse healthcare organisations. Please click on the links to find out more.

Workplace Communication in Culturally Diverse Healthcare Organisations