Advice » In the Workplace» Workplace Issues » Work with International Healthc ...
Work with International Healthcare Colleagues

Work with International Healthcare Colleagues

Immigrant workers are important contributors to the US healthcare system. Some 13 percent of healthcare employees in the US -- or 1.1 million -- are from other countries, according to a report from the American Immigration Council. More than 11 percent of registered nurses, 25 percent of physicians and nearly 15 percent of pharmacists in the US are immigrants.

Being part of a multicultural staff with its mixture of nationalities, cultures and training backgrounds presents a series of challenges and opportunities. These 10 tips will help you work effectively in the multinational environment of today's healthcare organizations.

Remember: You're More Alike

When it comes to how you want to be treated and how you want to treat patients, you and your diverse coworkers probably have more similarities than differences. "The values of foreign-trained healthcare professionals are very similar," says Mireille Kingma, a consultant on nursing and health policy at the International Council of Nurses and author of Nurses on the Move: Migration and the Global Health Care Economy. For example, nurses from many countries are willing to go out on a limb for their patients, even occasionally questioning the wisdom of physicians' orders.

Show Them the Ropes

Help your coworker when he needs it most. "Migrant workers can be -- for a certain period -- disoriented and more vulnerable to exploitation by employers," Kingma says. Your help when your coworker needs it will likely engender personal and professional loyalty, which can come in handy when you need to swap shifts or seek feedback on handling a difficult patient, for example.

Value Differences

Learn to value different perspectives when caring for patients with varying backgrounds. Healthcare workers of diverse nationalities "need to take some time to develop cultural competence and understand each other's points of view and customs," says Mary Jane Harris, PT, director of accreditation for the American Physical Therapy Association. If you see an unmet need for cultural training, discuss it with your human resources department.

Learn from Each Other

Assume that you and your coworkers of different nationalities have much to learn from each other. "The exchange of ideas between professionals is an enrichment, but it may be perceived as a threat by some," Kingma says. "So it's important to explain why you practice the profession the way you do."

Help with Language Training

Linguistic competence is relative: Your coworker from abroad most likely speaks English better than you speak his native language. Respect language differences, and point colleagues to educational resources where appropriate.

Be Inclusive

On the flip side, a common language may bind a group of workers from another country. Make an effort to bring these employees into your own workplace social circle; don't assume they're intentionally isolating themselves.

Accept Cultural Beliefs

Respect coworkers' cultural taboos. For example, "people from Islamic countries have a gender issue," Harris says. Among physical therapists, men will treat only men, and women only women, she explains. Look for a workaround rather than a confrontation.

Involve HR When Appropriate

Tensions may arise between American healthcare workers and their supervisors from other countries. If the situation begins to affect your performance, approach your human resources department or diversity officer for help. Explain that your top priority is optimal patient care.

Elevate Cultural Competence

Prod your employer to create an environment that makes a virtue of differences in nationality and culture among both staff and patients. For example, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston sends all workers who have patient contact to a workshop on culturally competent care.

Improve the Profession Together

In an era when many Americans worry their jobs will be shipped overseas or taken over by immigrant workers, some healthcare professionals may be concerned that their own jobs are at risk. But in the healthcare industry, staffing shortages in most occupations are projected to continue for the foreseeable future. Work with your colleagues to improve pay and working conditions for all healthcare professionals.

In 21st-century America, patients and their healthcare providers are becoming more multicultural every year. Healthcare professionals who learn to work effectively with their international colleagues are likely to provide the best patient care -- and earn superior professional rewards.

Learn more about healthcare careers.

Latest Jobs

CDI Corporation
Posted: 05/23/2015
Foxborough, MA, 02035
GDKN Corporation
Posted: 05/23/2015
Boyne City, MI, 49712
Posted: 05/23/2015
Las Vegas, NV, 89119
Posted: 05/23/2015
Las Vegas, NV, 89119
Posted: 05/23/2015
Edwards AFB, CA, 93523

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-302