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Title: Intercultural communication practices in a health care context
Authors: Mokoena, Thobile 
Issue Date: 2018
South Africa enjoys the rich cultural diversity amongst its citizens. With individuals from different parts of the world; speaking diverse languages, practising different cultural norms, holding different values and perceptions, the complexity contributes to South Africa’s rich cultural spectrum. The dawn of democracy in 1994 contributed to the rapid increase in intercultural communication which placed immense challenges upon various governmental sectors, specifically the health care context (Paulston, Kiesling, and Rangel 2012:317).

South Africans have been referred to as the 'rainbow nation', a title which characterises the country's cultural diversity (Naidoo 2011: 81). Hence, this study aimed to discuss the role of intercultural communication within a health care context. It explores intercultural communication challenges that may exist within an organisation. The area of focus for this study is the private health care sector: A case study of the Entabeni Hospital in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

The Entabeni Hospital is a private hospital based in Durban. The hospital works with individuals from different cultural backgrounds. These individuals possess different beliefs, views and norms; this could negatively affect their perceptions and attitudes towards each other. Therefore, cultural differences can become a challenge during the communication process between the parties involved.

For the purpose of the study, a qualitative approach was employed. The study sample comprised unit managers that interact directly with health care providers and patients. Semi-structured questionnaires were used during interviews to collect data from the research participants. The main findings of this study indicated that some of the respondents were aware of importance of the role of intercultural communication within the Entabeni Hospital. The findings also highlighted the respondents’ consciousness of acknowledging other cultural practises and respecting the diversity in cultural backgrounds that both patients and healthcare professionals come from, so that an effective medical process is achieved.
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirement for the Masters of Management Sciences: Public Relations, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2018.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Management Sciences)

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