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Week 2 Assignment – Communicating to Prevent Disparities
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Learning Objectives Covered
LO 03.02 – Discuss the inter- and intra-communication skills necessary to demonstrate professionalism in a healthcare setting
LO 03.04 – Explore the disparity of healthcare delivery in diverse populations
Career Relevancy

As you focus on delivering patient-centered care throughout your career, you will need to speak up on behalf of patients to prevent disparities, especially in diverse populations. To do this effectively, you’ll need to constantly develop your inter-communication and intra-communication skills.


As you may recall from Week 2 Discussion 1, inter-communication refers to communication between individuals or groups of individuals, and intra-communication relates to communication inside individuals or groups. Both involve using words to communicate. However, words are only a small part of communication, the verbal component. Everything else is nonverbal. There are several ways to communicate with words, such as speaking, writing, or typing them, but there are far more ways to communicate nonverbally. The infographic below explains various types of nonverbal communication.

A patient’s nonverbal communication can provide you with cues to help you interpret their verbal messages, but there’s not just one way to interpret nonverbal cues. For instance, what does it mean when a patient crosses their arms? Are they mad? How about bored? Do they feel uncomfortable—or threatened? Are they just cold, trying to warm themselves? Because you can’t know for sure what someone’s communicating nonverbally, whether on purpose or accidentally, it’s important to also pay attention to what’s being said (the verbal component) and to consider the context. Learn to check your perceptions instead of assuming your first interpretation is correct. Also consider cultural differences. The way your culture interprets something may be different than how someone from another culture interprets the same nonverbal cue. Neither way is right nor wrong, just different. We’ll take a closer look at cultural differences later in this course.

One of the biggest challenges to communicating well is paying attention to all the verbal and nonverbal cues that are constantly being sent during conversations. Take a few minutes to watch this TED Talk (Hampsten, 2016), which illustrates why it’s so easy for miscommunication to occur and what you can do to avoid it.

How Miscommunication Happens (and How to Avoid It)
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(4:18 min)

As you interact with patients, it’s important to keep these tips in mind to help prevent miscommunication, especially with patients from diverse populations. In fact, it’s so important that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services created standards for all healthcare professionals in the country to follow.

National CLAS Standards for Healthcare Delivery

The National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services Standards (CLAS) are based on this principle standard:

“Provide effective, equitable, understandable, and respectful quality care and services that are responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy, and other communication needs” (“National Culturally,” n.d.).

The CLAS standards, sometimes referred to as the HHS (Health & Human Services) standards, outline actions that healthcare leaders and other healthcare professionals should take to help abolish healthcare disparities (including those that happen accidentally because of cultural misunderstandings) and provide excellent service to all patients. You can find the CLAS standards here: National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services Standards (CLAS)
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. (391 words)

You’ll interact with the CLAS standards as part of this week’s assignment.


Hampsten, K. (2016, February). How miscommunication happens (and how to avoid it) [Video]. TED-Ed. Retrieved on June 11, 2020.
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National culturally and linguistically appropriate services standards. (n.d.). U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved on June 11, 2020.
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Sources of Information

Britt, R. R. (2019, June 25). The cryptic language of non-verbal communication. Elemental. Retrieved on June 11, 2020.
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Cheney, C. (2020, March 11). Focus on communication skills to improve your hospital’s patient experience. HealthLeaders. Retrieved on June 11, 2020.
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Cherry, K. (2020, January 11). Types of nonverbal communication. Verywell Mind. Retrieved on June 11, 2020.
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Habas, K. (2019, May 29). What is linear communication? Bizfluent. Retrieved on June 11, 2020.
(Links to an external site.)

Heathfield, S. (2019, August 6). Nonverbal communication in the workplace. The Balance Careers. Retrieved on June 11, 2020.
(Links to an external site.)

Lepsinger, R. (2018, May 14). 5 highly effective virtual communication skills. Business 2 Community. Retrieved on June 11, 2020.
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Ratna, H. (2019, September 20). The importance of effective communication in healthcare practice. Harvard Public Health Review, 2019(23). Retrieved on June 11, 2020.
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Stieg, C. (2020, March 18). How not to sound like a jerk (and communicate effectively) over Slack and email, according to a linguistics expert. CNBC Make It. Retrieved on June 11, 2020.
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Turakhia, B. (2019, May 13). How technology has transformed workplace communication. Future US, Inc. Retrieved on June 11, 2020.
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For this assignment, imagine you’ve started a position as the patient experience manager for a non-profit hospital in a lower income area that has a high population of non-English speaking migrant workers. The hospital has had issues with healthcare compliance and communication due to cultural and verbal miscommunications.

Your first duty is to prepare a training proposal for your hospital board that will focus on training the patient-facing units on overcoming communication barriers and meeting the cultural needs of diverse populations.

Your proposal should cover the following topics:

Summary of the National CLAS Standards for healthcare delivery
What does the HHS (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) think you should do?
Patient Impact
How does healthcare access and communication impact your patients?
Compare two hospital systems in your state. (Think of the wealthy areas versus the lower income areas.) What are the morbidity statistics?
Training Outline
What will you cover in your training? (Imagine all your staff members are base-level communicators.)

Your proposal (written in Microsoft Word) should be a minimum of 500 words with at least 2 references.

Next, you should include your training PowerPoint slides for review by the board. This should be at least 10 slides that align with your training outline in the proposal. Your presentation notes are not necessary since it should match the proposal. You can import
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the slides to your word document as opposed to creating a separate file upload.

*As a side note, this would make a great presentation proposal to send to a professional association in exchange for continuing education credits. We will prepare for this scenario in the Week 4 Assignment.

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