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Vol. 13 - Num. 50

Special Articles

Cultural competence and immigrant population: a daily challenge in our clinical offices

Rosa M.ª Macipe Costaa, Luis Gimeno Feliua

aPediatra. CS San Pablo. Zaragoza. España.

Correspondence: RM Macipe. E-mail:

Reference of this article: Macipe Costa RM, Gimeno Feliu L. Cultural competence and immigrant population: a daily challenge in our clinical offices. Rev Pediatr Aten Primaria. 2011;13:299-319.

Published in Internet: 25-04-2011 - Visits: 13429


In recent years, Spain has experienced a large increase in the immigrant population. This phenomenon has been a challenge for pediatricians who have had to adapt to this new reality. Today, many of the difficulties and challenges regarding immigrant children have more to do with communication problems and different conceptions of health and disease, than with imported diseases or specific health problems.

According to this, we speak of cultural competence as a set of skills, attitudes and behaviours in which the practitioner should be trained in order to provide a sensitive, empathetic, flexible and patient friendly care, which also includes an effective patient-centred communication. They are cornerstones of cultural competence, together with sensitivity to differences and to others, and the ability to listen and to know how to ask.

Those abilities and skills are not different from the necessary ones to take appropriate care of our patients in general, but to apply them is necessary for a patient-centred approach to the immigrant population. Therefore the further development of these skills will improve our attention to the local population.

In our attention to immigrants we encounter difficulties and barriers to overcome. Within these barriers we face problems of attitude, prejudice, mistrust, language barriers, short time in consultations, lack of training in specific areas of the immigrant population, etc. Identifying these barriers and seeking solutions to these difficulties is the target of this review.


Communication Cultural diversity Immigration



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