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Bridging the Culture Gap Between STNA’s and Patients

Posted on November, 02, 2012 by admin

It’s not something many people think about or even want to think about but there are distinct, institutionalized barriers set up around age and it exists throughout our entire lives.  For the most part, children are placed in schools based more on their age then their ability.  After education, people tend to slowly move up the ladder as they age.  Even the elderly are, for a large part, relegated to certain places like nursing homes and senior day care centers.

With all this separation from one generation to the next, it’s no wonder that different age groups find it hard to relate to one another.  For most people, this doesn’t present a problem because they are comfortably surrounded by others in their age group.

There are, however, areas where vastly different generations and cultures meet and must work together.  Many nurse’s aides work extensively with the elderly on a daily basis.

While both the patient and the aide can be completely professional, the cultural differences are sure to arise at some point.  The key to maintaining a healthy working relationship for everyone is communication and compassion.

For those born after 1980, technology has played a large role in their world for most of their lives.  Since communication through cell phones and other technology is so different from what the elderly are used to, these young people may come off as rude or inconsiderate.  A quick answer from a young person may be interpreted as disrespect with no such intent.

For young aides working with older patients, it is crucial that they understand where their actions and words may be misinterpreted.  When working with older people, young aides need to recognize that people from an older generation see patience as a sign of respect.  Younger people may need to spend a little more time with individual patients to make sure the patient knows that they are being taken care of.

For both parties involved, the keys to keeping the relationship strong is to keep communication and compassion at the forefront.  Instead of quick, irrational responses, younger aides and older patients need to talk things through calmly.  It is also beneficial if both people recognize that the other one is just another person trying to live their life.

By remembering others’ emotions, everyone can have a better experience.  If you have any questions on how to better relate professionally to another generation, contact us at PCHS!

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