Momwithastethoscope's Weblog

September 8, 2009

Loving Pediatric Medicine – the anti-rant

Filed under: More about Me,Office,pediatrics,positive medicine — momwithastethoscope @ 7:11 am
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Reason Number 8:  Cultural diversity.  On casual glance, my hometown looks like lots of others in the suburbs – gas stations, Wal-Mart, assorted fast food, families, soccer fields. Scratch the surface, and you will find a rich tapestry of ethnicity. 

No amount of residency training prepared me for the challenges of dealing with parents and patients who speak different languages, have different ideas about raising children, and whose lives are vastly different from mine at home.  I love this because every encounter teaches me. 

Six years ago, I took a medical Spanish language class.  We had an influx of Spanish speaking patients into our area, and I wanted to communicate with them better.  Learning a language is no easy task – my 40-something brain just cannot wrap itself around new vocabulary the way it did when I was learning high school French. But, the cultural nuances I learned in that class – taught by a multi-lingual woman who taught working Spanish to everyone from construction crews to attorneys – was invaluable. 

I was unable to fully embrace the new language – despite feeling some days that I was immersed in Spanish speaking culture – I was also immersed in Laotian, Swedish, Portugese, Russian, Indian and Chinese.  My focus shifted from trying to speak each language to learning cultural nuances and how they affected Pediatric care.  The focus has paid dividends.  My practice is more diverse than ever.

Almost daily, I assimilate bits and pieces of traditions from all over the world. Swedish carseats. Russian beet recipes. Indian sentiments. My take home message at the end of the day is more than one way exists to raise a child.

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