Cross-cultural communication barriers in health care

Nurs Stand. 2013 Apr 3-9;27(31):35-43. doi: 10.7748/ns2013.


Aim: To investigate healthcare professionals' perceptions of caring for people from ethnic minorities with poor or no English language skills when accessing health care.

Method: Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 34 healthcare professionals to identify their perception of barriers encountered by those with poor or no English language skills.

Findings: Five main themes were identified in relation to barriers in accessing health care: language; low literacy; lack of understanding; attitudes, gender attitudes and health beliefs; and retention of information.

Conclusion: It is essential that all individuals are able to interact effectively with healthcare services. New and innovative approaches are necessary to meet the needs of people from ethnic minorities accessing health care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged