Intercultural (Mis-) communication in medical settings: Cultural difference or cultural incompetence?

Rana Raddawi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


This chapter reviews the linguistic and cultural challenges, which arise between non-Arabic speaking healthcare providers and Arabic-speaking patients in two different multicultural settings. The United Arab Emirates and the United States are used as examples. A mixed method approach was followed in the data collection phase of the research. Secondary sources, observations in different healthcare units, and semistructured interviews with patients and healthcare providers from two hospitals in both countries were the main methods of data collection. Communication barriers between stakeholders stem from the lack of cultural and linguistic competencies of both healthcare givers and patients. Some solutions to these problems are provided with a focus on the importance of cultural competency in medical settings and its impact on patient satisfaction, cost efficiency, and improved healthcare and research outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIntercultural Communication with Arabs
Subtitle of host publicationStudies in Educational, Professional and Societal Contexts
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789812872548
ISBN (Print)9789812872531
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cultural competence
  • Intercultural communication
  • Medical settings
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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