Increasing immigration to Sweden has transformed a culturally homogeneous society into a more heterogeneous one. As a consequence intercultural communication and interaction have been increasing. Child health care agencies have encountered these increases. The aim of this study was to examine what the health care professionals experienced and communicated in these intercultural environments. Eight interviews with child health care nurses were carried through at four child health care centers in the south of Sweden. The results have shown that the child health nurses were affected by their different backgrounds and cultural diversity. An ethnocentric approach, including biased values of right and wrong, caused unsuccessful encounters with families from foreign countries. A culturally sensitive approach, on the other hand, with an understanding of cultural differences, proved to be successful and associated to plain communication and trust. A conclusion is that the nurses in childcare services should be provided with the opportunity to develop the necessary knowledge and tools needed for managing problems and obstacles they may encounter in their practices. Furthermore it was found that reflection was used for learning. We conclude that the nurses should be provided with opportunity to learn this way about their own culture and cultural relativity. A culturally sensitive approach leads to a better acceptance for cultural difference. From a health promotion point of view, this means that the prospect of promoting good health for immigrant children in the long run can be increased.
Keywords: Intercultural communication, child health centers, ethnocentrism, cultural sensitivity, reflection.
- Medicin och hälsovetenskap (3)