In the novel The Scalpel and The Silver Bear, Alvord is Native American and specifically has roots from the Navajo tribe. At the beginning of the novel she is conflicted by coming from a biracial family where her mother is white and her father is Navajo. This conflict follows her all of the way to college in choosing an Ivy League school. She later decides on a school known as Dartmouth because of the fact that they had substantial amount of Native Americans than any other Ivy League school. Alvord graduated from Dartmouth with a psychology and sociology degree but still had aspirations to become a doctor. She returns to school at Stanford to study medicine, after fulfilling her degree she made her way back to New Mexico near Gallup.
Alvord Practiced at Gallup Indian Medical Center where she stood out from her peers. She realized that all of her peers are Anglos and she was the only Native American. Although she is Native American she is not seen as such from her Native American Patients because of her modern medical practices. Alvord felt conflicted for her Native American background by practicing western medicine. She realizes that trust is the most difficult aspect when having Native American patients. Since the doctors are mostly Anglos it is difficult to communicate to the Navajo patients. Alvord realized this conflict and bridged the patient-physician gap by speaking Navajo and touching the patients. Since Navajo’s believe in touching, singing and feeling as a major
The Scalpel and the Silver Bear follows Lori Alvord on her journey from humble beginnings on the Navajo Reservation to a surgeon in the operating room. She was raised in a small community
Language barrier was a major factor that served to extend the boundary existing between the two cultures. Some of the utterances made by the doctors were interpreted right but were understood wrongly (Swartz 2). This resulted in a worsened discernment of the American doctors by the Lees and Hmong as an entity alike. In the case of an emergency, the Lees needed to contact an ambulance, but could not communicate with the hospital. This necessitated the involvement of their learned nephew, who would call an ambulance. The interpretation process would at times limit the effectiveness of the message intended by either party. For instance, when Lia was undergoing critical care in MCMC, the Lees needed to be comforted, a process which had to be done by an interpreter. Before the final discharge, miscommunication between Lia’s mother and the doctors had her think that the nurses disconnected medicine tubes off Lia in order to give it to some other patient; a mean act. In the same incident, Lia’s father was made to sign a letter of discharge for Lia, which would happen in two hours. However, he understood this as a letter to guarantee death in two
Many live under the assumption that those who come to the United States want to become Americanized and assimilate to the melting pot our culture has formed into. This is the populations ethnocentric belief, which is the belief that the ways of one’s culture are superior to the ways of a different culture, that wants others to melt into the western ways. In Ann Faidman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Faidman fails to completely remain objective when demonstrating how cross-cultural misunderstandings create issues in the healthcare field, specifically between the Hmong and western cultures that created dire consequences between the Lee’s and their American doctors. Faidman uses her connections with the Hmong and the doctors who cared for them in order to disclose the different views, beliefs and practices the Hmong and Western cultures practiced. With her attempt to be culturally relative to the situation, Faidman discusses the series of events and reasons as to why the Lee’s faced the fate that they did and how it parallels to the ethnocentrism in the health care system.
The Native American culture is the original culture of the United States. Members of Native American tribes live throughout the country. “There are an estimated 4.9 million persons, in 565 federally recognized tribes who are classified as American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AI), alone or in combination with one or more other designated racial classifications. This demographic group compromises 1.6% of the U.S. population” (Horowitz, 2012). Wisconsin is home to the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), Ojibwa (Chippewa), and the Potawatomi tribes (“American”, 2014). It is important for nurses within this state, as well as any other state, to understand the Native American belief system in order to provide a quality healthcare experience. Nurses are the primary point of contact in the healthcare setting. Client advocacy is one of the nurse’s major roles. Therefore, the nurse should have the highest level of diversity understanding for the cultures within the local region.
“In the Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down”, Anne Fadiman explores the subject of cross cultural misunderstanding. This she effectively portrays using Lia, a Hmong, her medical history, the misunderstandings created by obstacles of communication, the religious background, the battle with modernized medical science and cultural anachronisms. Handling an epileptic child, in a strange land in a manner very unlike the shamanistic animism they were accustomed to, generated many problems for her parents. The author dwells on the radically different cultures to highlight the necessity for medical communities to have an understanding of the immigrants when treating them.
Healthcare is an ever changing entity with an ever changing population of clients. In current day 2016, the United Sates has become a melting pot of many different cultural backgrounds, which has led to changes within the system to accommodate the patient base. Unfortunately, not all changes have been able to effectively reach any and all persons from every background. We still see language and cultural barriers that have direct correlation to the inability to seek healthcare and or the ability to change cultural perspectives to ensure healthy lifestyles. Within this paper, the health of American Indian and Alaskan Native populations will be discussed along with the barriers to care and the
They believe their children “were the most treasure possession a person can have” (page 23) and the Lee family truly believed they could provide the best care for their daughter Lia, and that her illness held her of a higher status in the Hmong community (Txiv neeb “person of healing spirit”, page 32). Moreover, the act of removing Lia from her family by the caregivers and government who took Lia from their care was both incomprehensible and upsetting for their entire family. The clash in this particular situation is where Dr. Neil (page 79) felt his best form of care to Lia was what he believed through his own constitudedness and situatedness (American society and western medicine practices). As well, in the refugee camps, many of the Hmong came to believe that “Western” medicine was a “form of coercion” (page 37) and in fact not a practice of healing.
Many people wonder what people think about them. They may think they have to fit in with the crowd. But to have everyone the same would be a boring world. Everybody has something different to contribute because we are all different. Different customs, cultures, and traditions. On a medical team, everyone performs different roles. Some may be better at other things than others, or think differently because of their culture and where they came from.
Growing up in Red Wing, Minnesota meant I was introduced to other cultures during my childhood. The Prairie Island Indian Community children attended Red Wing schools; therefore, the Tribal Council came to school to educate all students about their culture, through dance, song, and lectures. This helped me understand my Mdewakanton peers. It also taught me that the key to understanding another person’s culture was to listen and observe with an open mind. This approached enabled me to make connections with the migrant Hispanic workers and the socioeconomically disadvantaged that sought medical care at the C.A.R.E. Clinic. By listening to their stories, I discovered commonalties. This process helped me successfully refocus my wellness internship
They are valued for their wisdom and experience and might be quite knowledgeable about medicinal herbs and spiritual matters. This respect for elders and healers can lead aboriginal patients to accept medical advice from physicians without question, out of respect for their parallel role as healer. Traditional medicine is often assumed to refer to land-based medicines and plants. Some aboriginal people do not speak English and rely on interpreters in their health care. Owing to differences in values and beliefs surrounding medical care, interpreters require good understanding of patients’ cultures as well as their languages.
The patient views himself as a quiet man who loves his family. The patient views himself as a First Nation man who is connected to his Gitxsan culture by participating in the local First Nation drumming and dancing group, he feels disconnected from his culture by not knowing his native tongue language.
Being raised in India, attending medical school in Russia and doing externships and researches in the United States have resulted in my mastery of 6 different languages (Hindi, English, Russian, Gujarati, Marathi & Punjabi). These experiences have helped me gain a better understanding of the differences in culture that accompany them and to effectively treat patients of diverse ethnicities and background. Social and cultural factors have a significant impact on medical decisions made by patients and being aware of this, has helped me provide better care for them. Furthermore, I became aware of the importance of fostering lasting physician-patient relationships, and came to appreciate how incredibly rewarding it is to play such an important role in their
Tuesday’s lecture was given by a Native American medicine woman who emphasized the need to ancestral healing for past reconciliation and redemption. She told us different stories that have medical reverence in her community and explained how the characters in the stories represent someone or a group in some facet in our lives, and the lives of our predecessors. One story she recited was The Brown Bear which was centered around a large solemn bear who lived in a cave and killed many members of a nearby tribe. A local witch, against the will of the entire village, goes inside the bear’s dark cave to consult her and understand why she would mercilessly take lives. The medicine women understood form the bear that some of the warriors had killed
Writer chose an article, “Culturally competent nursing care for American Indian clients in a critical care setting” retrieved from Critical Care Nurse Journal (2005), which focuses on American Indian, Native American, and Alaska Native cultural group, the smallest racial minority groups in the United States, that consists original people indigenous for the North American continent and has been ignored by healthcare system. Access to healthcare for Native Americans is more difficult than for the rest of the population because of their geographic isolation in villages and communities in states that are large in area and have large reservations, poor transportation, lack of running water, and efficient communication system.