6. Integrating Into Your Workplace

This video features the topics of communicating with patients, patient-centred care, the healthcare team, the importance of collaboration, and the road to success.

(To read along click here.)

Communicating with patients
In many countries, medical training does not include learning how to communicate with patients, but in Canada it does. Friends in your field who have been brought up in Canadian culture are a good source of information: you can open up to them and ask, “This is the situation. How should I handle it?”

When you have to give bad news to a patient and their family you need to be very sensitive, and try to be aware of non-verbal cues as well.

Understanding the importance of patient-centred care
Many times when medical staff overseas are asked about the health system here, the answers are all about the clinical elements of healthcare, with almost no room for considering the relationship that staff have with the patients, and how the patients experience their care. If you have been brought up in a system where the medical professional is the decision-maker, the way that Canadian patients ask questions can feel like a threat to your authority, but it isn’t; they are trying to understand. The patient’s autonomy and decisions must be respected. Whatever may surprise or shock you about a patient’s situation, try to understand what they want – what their expectations and priorities are – and meet them in that.

Understanding the healthcare team model
In some cultures the nurse or doctor is expected to be a bit of everything: dietitian, physiotherapist, and pharmacist. Here in Canada each role is delegated to a different professional, and it is important to respect the professionalism and contribution of each team member. Collaboration leads to better patient-centred care. If you can understand the collaborative model from the beginning, that will be a big help to you.

Following the road to success
The road to success varies for everyone. Do one thing at a time, step by step. Develop and lean on your support system of friends and family, and be there for them too. Be flexible, and keep at it.

Know when it’s time to think of changing track somewhat; living with constant struggle and frustration is not worth it. You are more than your profession. Look at different options within your field. “You’ve made it all the way here in Canada; it’s not the time to stop yet.”

Learning Exercise: Integrating Into Your Workplace

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