Culture and the Child Health Ambulatory Setting

  • Jim Richardson


Culture is an elusive term that means different things to different people. At first glance, culture may seem to be a very abstract issue, particularly when some of the definitions for culture derived from sociology and anthropology are considered. In fact, culture is a vital, everyday concept that is of the first importance for health care professionals and the people using their services. Articles dealing with culture in health care often start by emphasising that Britain is now a multicultural society (Weller, 1994), so that culture requires our attention if we are to provide an effective and respectful service for those to whom we offer care. This is clearly true (Skellington and Morris, 1992; Mason, 1995) but is only part of the story. Ethnic origin is one aspect of culture about which we readily become aware when working with children and families. As a highly visible aspect of culture, it is a topic about which considerable amounts of demographic information have been collected (Skellington and Morris, 1992; Balarajan and Raleigh, 1993). The sheer mass of information about just one facet of culture underscores the importance of this topic to health care workers.


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© J. Richardson 1998

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  • Jim Richardson

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