Goldie D. Brangman Diversity & Inclusion Lecture: Accommodations for the Muslim Surgical Patient
Congress Daily: Culture, creed and ethnicity are such hot topics in the news lately. Now more than ever healthcare providers are faced with patients from all walks of life. Being able to be sensitive to cultural and religious differences can smooth the patient’s experience and put them at ease. What is the most important thing for an anesthesia provider to keep in mind when administering to and interacting with a Muslim patient?
Lisa Reidel: It is important to keep in mind your own internal biases. This comes when caring for patients of any race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation that differs from the provider giving care. One of the first steps in cultural awareness and sensitivity is to recognize that you (and everyone else) brings conscious and unconscious ideas with them during every interaction. Our society presents Muslims in the media, in film, and on the television in a narrow spectrum. We need to be aware that this has influenced our perceptions.
Congress Daily: Former AANA President Goldie Brangman, for whom your session is named, is a firm believer in inclusivity of all people. As the second speaker in the Goldie D. Brangman Diversity & Inclusion lecture series, what do you feel can be gained by healthcare providers learning about respecting and accommodating the Muslim Surgical Patient?
Reidel: If the patient is not listened to or is misunderstood due to cultural or language differences, the safety and effectiveness of care is diminished while both provider and patient satisfaction with care is decreased. We individually and as a profession want to achieve the best possible outcomes. This is not possible if we default to the generic white, Eurocentric view of the world that is systemic in our healthcare system.
Congress Daily: Americans can be very direct with eye contact and use of touch. What tips can you offer a healthcare provider who must adapt their use of eye contact and touch for a Muslim patient?
Riedel: This is a very interesting question. On one hand, the profession of medicine has bemoaned the movement towards more technology and less touch. On the other hand, many cultures have different views on who and when touching is appropriate - Islam is not unique in this. Our profession could do more in training on emotional intelligence and cultural sensitivity throughout. And it starts in our schools and our continuing education credits. Our profession needs to emphasize these skills. It needs to be part of the requirement to renew licensure and part of the national certification exam instead of being optional to those that are interested.
Congress Daily: How a healthcare provider approaches or interacts with a Muslim patient – such as how a male doctor may interact with a female patient – can be tricky to navigate. If a healthcare provider does make a mistake in how they interact with a Muslim patient, what can the healthcare provider do to make it right?
Riedel: Acknowledge the mistake is the first step. Islam is a diverse religion with many cultural variations - just like Christianity and Judaism. No one is going to get it right every time. Being kind, being honest, being open to constructive criticism and developing trust is a good rule no matter what patient you are interacting with while providing care.
Congress Daily: How does an anesthesia provider become more informed about the Muslim faith and how to properly and respectfully care for the Muslim patient?
Riedel: There is a wealth of resources to become more familiar with the religion of Islam and the Muslims who practice it. Many books, articles, internet sites, YouTube videos and documentaries are available, depending on how you like to consume information. For a quick read, Michigan State University School of Journalism published, 100 Questions and Answers about Muslim Americans ISBN: 978-1-939880. For a more in-depth book, I suggest What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam by John L. Esposito ISBN: 0-19-515713-3. A good internet resource is this site from Global Ministries.
Congress Daily: Is there anything else you wish to convey to our members with respect to the treatment of a Muslim surgical patient?
Riedel: The Muslim patient is not as "other" or "foreign" as we might first think. Those of us who think we treat all patients the same are doing a disservice to ourselves because each patient is unique and deserves to be thought of that way. I would urge people to take the Harvard Implicit Bias test. It is very interesting what you can learn about yourself.
Note: The Goldie D. Brangman Diversity & Inclusion Lecture will be held in the Regency Ballroom A, Ballroom Level, West Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago hotel from 8-9 a.m. on Monday, August 12. Please check the AANA Meetings app for the most up-to-date room assignments.