Exploring cultural barriers to effective communication between expatriate nurses and patients in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

2017-05-19T02:30:55Z (GMT) by Alahmmari, Ayed
Study Background: Nurse–patient cultural communication is of paramount significance in countries with substantial expatriate nursing workforces, such as Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabian hospitals are mostly staffed by foreign nurses, who constitute 73.4% of the total population of registered nurses (Ministry of Health, 2014). Aim of the Study: The purpose of this study was to explore the cultural communication barriers between non-Saudi nurses and Saudi patients when performing patient health care. Study Design: The study adopted a quantitative descriptive survey design. A convenience sampling technique was used to recruit a population of surgical nurses (n = 93) working in wards at a tertiary health care centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Descriptive statistics and non-parametric analysis (Mann-Whitney U tests) were used to analyse survey data. Results: Unfamiliarity with language or dialect and generational gap scores represented the highest cultural communication barriers, followed by other significant results that included gender difference and nurses’ burnout. Lack of continuous communication skills training and Arabic language also had an impact. Cultural communication competence was influenced by respondents not understanding the Saudi culture. Recommendations: Developing appropriate cultural communication between expatriate nurses and Saudi patients entails grasping Saudi sociocultural parameters. It is paramount that expatriate nurses intending to work in Saudi Arabia are professionally educated about Islamic Arabic cultural beliefs and communication methods. It is further suggested that Saudi patients’ perspectives on cultural obstacles in communicating with foreign nurses be explored.