The purpose of the paper is the investigation of the issues of stereotyping and inequality in the medical settings in Miami, Florida. The local community consists of a large number of ethnicities, nationalities, and cultures. And unfortunately, some of the minority groups fail to receive the high-quality medical service due to discriminatory attitudes and the prejudices of the medical staff members. The unequal treatment of patients leads to the inefficiency of the healthcare practice. For the improvement of the situation, the promotion of the cultural competence and the client-oriented service among the medical specialists is needed.
The US health care system is characterized by the technologic advancement and well-developed healthcare provision capabilities. However, despite these evident advantages, the quality of the healthcare service suffers, and one of the reasons for it is in the existence of the stereotypes and prejudices among the clinical practitioners that lead to a large disparity in the health status and healthcare delivery of…minority patients” (Calloway 2007). As a result, the inequality arises. Nowadays, the USA is considered a “fourth-most unequal country…following only Mexico, Turkey, and Poland” (Inequality and Health par. 4). And the main factors provoking the unequal attitudes towards the patients are of the socioeconomic, ethnic, and racial characters.
Stereotyping in the Health Care Settings
Despite the fact that the racial or socioeconomic prejudices have many unethical and immoral implications, the cases of stereotyping took place in the US medical practice many times. The community in Miami consists of a large number of ethnicities, nationalities, and cultures. And unfortunately, some of the minority groups fail to receive the high-quality medical service due to unprofessional behavior and the prejudiced attitudes of the staff members.
It is mentioned by the recent research that each culture has distinct attitudes towards health and healthcare practice (Stone, 2008). And the consideration of those cultural differences is an essential part of professional competence in medical service provision.
Sometimes the physicians may treat their patients from the distinct cultural and ethnical backgrounds disrespectfully because they consider their opinion regarding medical treatment inadequate. For example, a Chinese patient visiting a medical specialist will make remarks regarding the issued medical prescription but his preferences will not be taken into consideration and will be abruptly rejected by the physician. As a result, the patient who had all rights to be treated respectfully and equally will feel discontent and will try to sabotage the process of his treatment prescribed by the doctor.
The given example may not be regarded as one of the most severe cases of inequality on the basis of ethnicity, but it was observed in professional practice and is based on the personal experience. The example demonstrates the violation of ethical code involving the cultural stereotyping and disrespect. It is possible to say, that in this case the physician failed to show empathy and sensitivity that are considered the vital elements of the cross-cultural communication (Stone, 2008, p. 218).
It is possible to say that the older people face the case of healthcare inequality very often. The needs for the healthcare service among the members of the older population are extensive. However, due to their social isolation and exclusion, their access to the medical treatment is limited. Moreover, the aging patients with the mental conditions face the difficulties even more as well as the older people from the minor ethnic groups.
The total value of population from 55 to 85 years old in Florida in 2014 was 59.954 (Florida Population Estimates par. 1). The circulatory diseases are the most common among the age group members; “rates of respiratory and infectious diseases, cancers, injury and poisoning were also higher in this age group compared to younger individuals” (Davies, 2011, p. 51).
“Social isolation can result from exclusion caused by ageist attitudes and deep-rooted negative beliefs about older people” (Davies, 2011, p. 52). Because of it, the older patients experience significant challenges in obtaining the timely healthcare treatment. For example, a patient with walking impairment experiencing the aggravation of symptoms and increase in pain cannot receive the essential treatment because of the age discrimination. In this case, the patient lived independently, and when his condition became worse, he couldn’t reach the medical center by himself because it was too far from home. As a result, the care provision was delayed. Moreover, the doctor didn’t prescribe any treatment for the patient knowing that he was previously diagnosed and passed intervention. Otherwise, he sent the patient home without any particular recommendation for dealing with the aggravation of the condition. In this case, the physician had the prejudice regarding the aging and considered the pain and deterioration of the older person’s condition a natural part of aging. This stereotype resulted in the unequal treatment.
Healthcare largely affects the individuals’ health. Therefore, it is highly important to address the issues that interfere with the equal healthcare provision and medical treatment. First of all, it is important to instruct the nursing and other medical staff regarding the cultural competence and the stereotypes exclusive professional practice. One of the main aspects of effective healthcare treatment is the orientation to the patient and his needs. In the community characterized by socioeconomic, racial, cultural, and demographic diversity, the client-oriented practice is of extreme importance. Only the provision of the specialist treatment that is free of any prejudices may ensure the positive results at both individual and organizational levels.
Calloway, A. (2007). A pox upon healthcare: The stereotypes, prejudices and biases of healthcare providers. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Full Text. Web.
Davies, N. (2011). Reducing inequalities in healthcare provision for older adults. Nursing Standard, 25(41), 49-55.
Florida Population Estimates (2014). Web.
Inequality and Health. (2009). Web.
Stone, J. R. (2008). Healthcare inequality, cross-cultural training, and bioethics: Principles and applications. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 17(2), 216-226.