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Challenging Nurses’ Cultural Competence of Disability to Improve Interpersonal Interactions

Roscigno, Cecelia I.

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: February 2013 - Volume 45 - Issue 1 - p 21–37
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0b013e318275b23b

ABSTRACT Worldwide, at least 6.9 billion people have an impairment-producing health condition. Insensitive encounters with healthcare providers (HCPs) can result in negative appraisals, fear, and avoidance, but little is known about what things are commonly perceived as insensitive. A review of published narratives describing negative encounters with HCPs was conducted. Narrative analysis was used to compare, contrast, and synthesize six themes describing the common negative encounters: (a) ignoring or minimizing their knowledge, (b) detached interpersonal interactions, (c) placing a negative skew on their life quality, (d) lack of HCP knowledge related to their complete needs, (e) assuming they should be asexual and childless, and (f) an inherent power differential. The medical model of disability is perceived by individuals with impairment-producing health conditions to inform negative encounters perceived as insensitive. This preliminary knowledge is important so we can address educational needs, plan future research questions, and establish clinical practice improvements.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Cecelia I. Roscigno, PhD RN CNRN, at She is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.

The author declares no conflict of interest.

© 2013 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses