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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Enid Errante Zwirn, PhD, MPH, RN (Indiana University School of Nursing)
Description: This is an easy-to-read, short handbook written for healthcare professionals to increase their cultural sensitivity and responsiveness to both co-workers and patients to deliver quality health care services.
Purpose: The growing need for healthcare providers to be knowledgeable about the contributions and challenges of diversity in the workplace, and in the effective care of patients, supports continued attention to this subject as well as pragmatic guidelines for practice.
Audience: The authors state that the book is "written for those who design and implement an organization's strategic vision ... who train and develop staff to meet the goals of that strategy, as well as for direct caregivers." A more focused voice targeted, for example, to strategic planners or specific caregivers, would increase its relevance. Parts of the book, such as Chapter Four and the list of "Suggestions for Health Care Professionals Regarding Cross Cultural Communication," might be provided for novice health practitioners as springboards for self reflection and seminar discussion. Other chapters, such as Chapter Nine, would be more attractive to readers in mid- and upper-level management positions. The authors have contributed to the area of cultural diversity in the workplace for over 20 years. They are also the authors of Managing Diversity: A Complete Desk Reference and Planning Guide (Irwin Professional Pub, 1992). Many of the useful checklists and suggestions in this book first appeared in their earlier work.
Features: Chapters One through Five appear targeted to the healthcare provider. The authors address changing U.S. demographics, the pervasive role of ethnicity, and cross-cultural examples of norms, preferences, and areas that contribute to cultural misunderstanding. Chapter Six would be valuable for both healthcare providers and managers. The last three chapters focus on successful leader attributes, successful organizational change efforts, and solving organizational problems related to managing diversity in healthcare. The book contains few illustrations, but a number of checklists and models to be used for assessment and training tools are provided. The authors promise a companion trainer's guide with reproducible training activities and worksheets to be available "soon." The checklists and models are supported by an excellent annotated resources section that includes books, structured experiences, games and training activities, videos, films, and web sites.
Assessment: The book's shortcoming is its lack of a clearly defined audience. More could have been done with visual presentation — checklists and guidelines could have been blocked and presented in horizontal format. Perhaps the trainer's guide will correct these. The strengths of the book include its health workplace examples, checklists, resource section, and index. The demands to successfully manage diversity in healthcare come from our colleagues and our clients. The subject is critical.