The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

1993 Words Sep 23rd, 2014 8 Pages
"The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down"

It is difficult enough to go to the emergency ward with a family member and speak the same language as the staff. The admitting nurse wants all insurance information, another nurse/secretary asks for injury/illness history and, meanwhile, the person who needs to see the doctor is waiting in pain. The stress mounts and communication becomes harder. Now, take that same scenario when someone in the ER does not speak the language or know the culture of the patient. It not only severely complicates the process, but endangers the person needing the care. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman is the tragedy about three-month-old Lia Lee, from Laos, who unfortunately was one of these
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It appears that the California educational system understands the need for enhancing cultural understanding. This is a positive sign in education. Interest in the subject of cultural and linguistic competency is beginning to reach the “tipping point” (Gladwell, 2002). Over the past two decades, there has been an “explosion” of interest in developing programs that meet the general, mental and oral health, as well as social service needs of the country’s increasingly diverse population. Cultural and linguistic competence initiatives are underway at the systems, organizational, and clinical levels in a variety of institutions. A growing number of federal agencies, foundations, and private organizations are supporting innovative educational, research, and service delivery services. The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), for example, has Centers for Excellence (COEs) that use a curriculum guide for integrating cultural and linguistic competency content, methods and evaluation into existing academic programs (HRSA, 2005). However, changes in the medical field are going more slowly. According to an article by Metzyl and Poirier (2004), medical humanities programs now promote awareness of the social aspects of medicine, and the Association of American Medical Colleges instituted cultural competencies for clinical interaction for the training of medical students. However, these authors say, “current efforts to impart understandings of the