Supporting Diverse Staff in Children's Hospitals

By Cathy O'Callaghan.

Published by The International Journal of Organizational Diversity

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 30, 2015 $US5.00

While multicultural policies in Australia and New South Wales encourage organisations to employ bilingual/bicultural staff, recognising the benefits for diverse clients and for achieving organisational goals, there tends to be a lack of policies, guidelines and programs that support such staff in using their inherent skills. This paper draws on interviews with a cross-section of managers and staff at two children’s hospitals in Sydney, Australia. It discusses how staff members work in a culturally diverse environment. The interviews reveal cross-cultural tensions, demonstrating a lack of policy, training and support in this area. Many overseas trained health professionals need assistance in developing their colloquial English language skills and in understanding the cultural context of an Australian children’s hospital. A dominant western health care model pervades, and several staff from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds stated they did not want to discuss their cultural background with other staff. Although there is some literature on managing diversity in health organisations in the U.S., there is less written on this topic in Australia. Some of this literature discusses the need for managers to change the organisational culture to ensure an acceptance of diversity. However, this paper argues that support is needed on a systemic and organisational basis in order to create culture change.

Keywords: Organizational Culture, Overseas Trained Health Professionals, Managing Diversity

The International Journal of Organizational Diversity, Volume 14, Issue 2, July 2015, pp.11-27. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 30, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 478.343KB)).

Dr. Cathy O'Callaghan

Learning and Development Program Manager, Multicultural Health Service, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Darlinghurst, NSW, Australia