Communication Opinion: Communication Cultural Differences

The process of transmitting information in form of ideas and feelings to an individual or group of people is what constitutes communication. The information received should be similar to the information transmitted for a communication process to be effective (Fielding, 2006). There is a difference between communicating clearly and talking. It is not a guarantee that the information transmitted during the communication process will be exactly the same kind of information received. Communication experts know that there is always a room for misunderstanding in the communication process (Fielding, 2006). It is important to understand all the basic elements of communication that are very fundamental when it comes to communicating clearly. Effective communication saves a lot of time that could have otherwise been spent fixing communication errors. Healthcare communication is almost similar to other forms of communication apart from a few differences (Caputo, 2003). This paper will highlight the basic elements of communication and how they can be applied in the healthcare sector.

The first basic element of communication is the source. The origin of the ideas and feelings to be transmitted is a very important element of communication (Fielding, 2006). The source of information in communication can be an instructor, a sender, a transmitter or a speaker. The selected language and the attitude of the communicator when communicating ideas are some of the things used to gauge the effectiveness of an instructor. The language used in communication should be familiar to the receiver for effective communication to take place. The ideas and feeling from the source should be meaningful to the recipient in order to enhance effective communication (Fielding, 2006). The second basic element of communication is symbols which includes both visual and oral codes. The oral and visual codes should be combined with gestures as a way of enhancing effective communication.

The third basic element of communication is the receiver. The receiver can also be referred to as the listener or reader (Caputo, 2003). The reaction of the receiver determines whether the communication process has been effective or not. If the receiver understands the sent information and acts according to the sender’s instructions, then it is assumed that effective communication has taken place. The instructors or speakers should understand the experiences, attitudes and abilities of the receiver for them to communicate effectively (Caputo, 2003). An instructor should be sensitive to the receiver’s cultural background, age and education.

The basic rules of healthcare communication differ in some way from the basic elements of effective communication (Caputo, 2003). In healthcare communication, the privacy of patient information should always be observed as a way of respecting the rights of patients. Information privacy is not in any way a fundamental aspect of basic elements of effective communication. Healthcare communication does allow electronic transmission of information from the provider to the patient as a way of ensuring that privacy is maintained to the maximum (Caputo, 2003). All the privacy provisions should be upheld every time the healthcare provider interacts with the patient. Healthcare providers should take the necessary measures to ensure that not all the confidential information about patients is leaked in any way. It is important to note that all the basic rules of healthcare communication are meant to protect a patient’s confidentiality. Healthcare providers should ensure that their patients are aware of all their rights regarding information flow to facilitate effective communication (Caputo, 2003). Healthcare providers should first get the attention of patients before communicating to them.

It is always a difficult task to encourage reluctant healthcare consumers to communicate candidly (Fielding, 2006). There are several ways through which a patient can be encouraged to communicate candidly. To begin with, healthcare providers should avoid the use of technical words that patients are not familiar with. Healthcare providers should also avoid unnecessary details and the use of acronyms when talking to patients (Fielding, 2006). Patients can only be able to communicate candidly if they fully understand what the nurses and doctors mean. It is important to first confirm the feelings and thoughts of a patient to demonstrate an interest in their wellbeing. Healthcare providers should always clarify all the information communicated to the patients for them to understand why they are supposed to do certain things. The caregiver should collaborate with the patient and ask for their opinions in the treatment process (Caputo, 2003). This makes a patient to feel relaxed for them to communicate candidly without any fear. Patients should feel as if they are partners with the caregivers for them communicate effectively.

In conclusion, cultural differences have a significant influence on communication. To begin with, the choice of a communication medium is sometimes influenced by culture (Caputo, 2003). Some cultures allow explicit and specific communication while other cultures prefer general and unspecific form of communication. It is a great challenge to communicate with people from different cultures because what is right in one culture may be wrong in another culture. Cross-cultural communication means that the instructor should come up with an effective method of transmitting information to people from different cultures (Fielding, 2006). Different cultures may mean different languages, which may in turn hinder effective communication. Cultural differences can therefore hinder communication because of the language barrier (Fielding, 2006). The basic elements of effective communication are very important in all the contexts of communication.


Caputo, J. (2003). Effective communication. New York, NY: Dramatic Lines Publishers.

Fielding, M. (2006). Effective communication in organizations. New York, NY: Juta and Company Ltd.

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