South Asian Immigrant Women's Perceptions and Experiences of Respect within Health Professional-Client Relationships while Journeying through Cancer

Monday, 7 July 2008: 1:15 PM
Savitri Singh-Carlson, RN, BSN, PhD , Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, White Rock, BC, Canada

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to find whether South Asian immigrant women had expectations of respect within the relationship in the clinical setting.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to discriminate whether South Asian immigrant women's experiences of respect were different from those of mainstream women.

South Asian Immigrant Women's Perceptions of Respect within Health

Professional–Client Relationships

Although respect is discussed as a positive outcome of health professional–client relationships, there is a paucity of research on respect in the context of these relationships within clinical settings. Even less information exists about South Asian immigrant women's experiences of respect with regard to health professionals in clinical settings. In this focused ethnographic study, the author examined South Asian immigrant women's descriptions of their experiences and perceptions of respect within health professional–client relationships at two outpatient follow-up clinics at the provincial cancer agency.

Issues such as language, cultural values, and beliefs, along with underlying societal, individual, and institutional factors that coexist with health professionals' ability to create respect, were some of the dimensions that influenced how South Asian immigrant women experienced respect. The characteristics of respect experienced as a part of the interaction with health professionals were the professional's way of being, being acknowledged as a human being, the professional's way of talking with clients when providing information, and attending to the person. Women felt that most health professionals provided respect through the use of professional interpreters and some language-specific printed information for non-English speaking women. Some women believed that health professionals make assumptions that stereotype immigrant women. Health professionals' capacity to acknowledge South Asian immigrant women as individuals helped to formulate/construct respect for their individual identities.