In both of these cases, the failure arises from the clinician's mistaken assumptions or biases. In the first case, the clinician did not consider the many vari-Cables that shape patient beliefs about health and expectations for medical care. In the second case, the clinician allowed stereotypes to dictate the agenda in-ead of listening to the patient and respecting her as an individual. Each of us as our own cultural background and our own biases. These do not simply de away as we become clinicians.

you provide care for an ever-expanding and diverse group of patients, it is ^increasingly important to understand how culture shapes not just the patient's beliefs, but your own. Culture is a system of shared ideas, rules, and meanings that influences how we view the world, experience it emotionally, and behave in relation to other people. It can be understood as the "lens" through which we perceive and make sense out of the world we inhabit. This definition of culture is broader than the term "ethnicity." The influence of culture is not limited to minority groups—it is relevant to everyone. While learning about specific cultural groups is important, without a framework, this may lead to its opposite, group stereotypes. For example, you may think that Asians have more rice in their diets than those from other cultural groups. For people of Asian descent in the United States, however, this may not be the case at all. Work on an appropriate and informed clinical approach to all patients by becoming aware of your own values and biases, developing communication skills that transcend cultural differences, and building therapeutic partnerships based on respect for each patient's life experience. This type of framework, described in the following section, will allow you to approach each patient as unique and distinct.

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