Employees at New Hanover Regional Medical Center will soon start cultural competency training, learning about listening and understanding all of the patients that they treat.
The training is part of the hospital’s health equity program which was launched in the fall.
The program’s director, Joseph Conway, said it is aimed at targeting disparities in specific populations of the community, and then program leaders partner with groups locally to reach those populations.
“We know that we have challenges just being transparent within the organization,” Conway said.
Hospital employees filled out a survey in the fall and were asked about challenges staff face with cultural competency. According to Conway, the results showed employees need more perspective into patients’ cultures, and the hospital wants to help with that.
“The reason the staff needs to be aware of the cross-cultural communication is so they can begin to have those engaging conversations from an empathetic side. So they can relate to the patient more directly so that patient feels as though you delivered care to me in the way that matters to me,” Conway said.
“In other words being able to listen and understand and with that empathetic side of you, that empathetic eye, now begin to relate to the patient so you can understand where they’re coming from, I can deliver that care at the bedside that they want to see from a relational standpoint,” he said.
The training starts in April and will be ongoing. According to Conway, it will begin with hospital managers and leaders first, and then other employees. They plan to bring in community partners and leaders to help with the training.
He said the hospital is also going door to door in the Wilmington area asking the public what they want in the community, and what the hospital is not doing or providing.
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