Ever felt a bit nervous about working with someone from a different cultural background? Ever felt anxious about being in a new place for the first time?

The Healthcare Environment (Video 8)


How can staff explain what the clinical workplace is like for students and what to expect. Let’s hear from these staff.

Manager, Gradplus Queensland (Ramsay Health Care):
The Australian healthcare environment can be quite a fast-paced environment. I think the Australian community expectations are that there is a high standard of service delivery so patient care or clinical care, so the expectations are quite high. I would say in terms of relationships between healthcare workers I feel that in Australia its possibly less formal than perhaps some other cultures. Say, for example the relationship between doctors and nurses may be less formal than in some other environments. And so that’s important for our multicultural students to understand, that, you know, perhaps asking a doctor to clarify an order or to question something is appropriate to do in Australia. It’s an expectation in fact that we are working as a team and that we understand how each other are working and it’s OK to ask questions, it’s not seen as disrespectful in Australia.

Lecturer (School of Nursing and Midwifery, QUT):
The nursing role in Australia is fairly defined and may well be very different to other developed areas like North America and the UK, we have different aspects of scope that are specific to Australia. It may well be specific to the environment that you are working in, particularly with advanced practice.

Lecturer (School of Nursing and Midwifery, QUT):
The culture of the healthcare environment in Australia - we’re so different from where these students have come from. I think one of the main things they have to put up with is the huge volume of information that’s being directed at them and around them at any given time. It’s very fast-paced, its loud, its noisy and as I said several people giving all sorts of information plus caring for a sick person. The other big difference there is, well, is that it is the nursing staff and the paramedical staff that are caring for the patient. There is little or no family input, whereas in many of their cultures the family are doing a lot of the care, so that’s something quite different for them. The other side of that too is, of course, is if the family aren’t doing the care they as student nurses - or the nurse - are doing the care, and often this care is personal hygiene and personal intimate type care which they’re not used to doing. So that can be quite confronting and worrying for the students. So we need to prepare them; that they will be doing perhaps procedures that normally would be relegated to a family member. The terminology is one of the other major things they have to contend with. It’s not that they don’t know what we are talking about, but often it’s called something quite different in their language so that’s really hard for them. One of the things to prepare students for that, if it’s possible, is to show them a series of pictures of just the regular everyday equipment like stethoscopes and hypodermic injections and rubber gloves etcetera. So that we can make sure that what we call them is what they call them. So if someone says “could you go and get me a stethoscope” the student will know to do, instead of thinking “What’s that?” and feeling silly because they don’t know, but they actually know what a stethoscope is, that sort of stuff.