choice, offering our support for whatever their needs or desires may be.
An individual is born either male or female and learns roles and responses associated with their gender through parental models, family relationships, and his or her specific society. As one enters into the world of providing health care services, it is necessary to learn and adopt new roles and responses regarding gender identification. As the number of females entering the military service increases, health care providers are increasingly being challenged to expand their functions in relation to caring for patients of the opposite sex. The health care provider who has developed sound moral principles and consciously strives to provide a service based on a firm ethical foundation has little to fear when providing care for an individual of either sex. However, the development of such a foundation requires diligent study, a commitment to growth, and an availability of professionally guided experiences. Throughout your career as a member of the Hospital Corps, you will be given opportunities and guidance to achieve a sound ethical background. Your only responsibility toward this growth is a desire and commitment to make yourself available and respond as a real professional.
Because of the increasing frequency with which hospital corpsmen are required to attend to persons of either sex, the following guidelines are presented to assist you in developing some decision-making judgments.
To ensure the protection of health care personnel from unjustified accusations, a witness should be present when a member of the opposite sex is being examined or treated. Whether this witness is a member of the same sex as the patient may be dictated by the availability of personnel. When you are caring for a patient, sensitivity to both verbal and nonverbal communication is paramount. A grin, a frown, or an expression of surprise may all be misinterpreted by the patient. Explanations and reassurances will go far in preventing misunderstandings of actions or intentions. Knowledge, empathy, and mature judgment should guide the care provided to any patient; this is especially crucial when the care involves touching. As a member of the health care team, you are responsible for providing complete, quality care to all who need and seek your service. This care must be provided in a manner 5-4 compatible with your individual legal and technical limitations.
Communication is a highly complicated interpersonal process of people relating to each other through conversation, writing, gestures, appearance, behavior, and at times, even silence. Such interpersonal relating not only occurs among health care providers and patients but also between health care providers and support personnel. Some of these support personnel include housekeeping, maintenance, security, supply, and food service staff. Another critical communication interaction occurs among health care providers and visitors. Because of the critical nature of communication in health care delivery, it is important that the hospital corpsman understand the communication process and the techniques used to promote open, honest, and effective interactions. It is only through effective communication that the health care provider is able to identify the goals of the individual and the Navy health care system.
The human communication process consists of four basic parts: the sender of the message, the message, the receiver of the message, and the feed- back. The sender of the message starts the process.
The receiver is that individual intended to receive the message. The message is that body of information the sender wishes to transmit to the receiver. Feedback is the response given by the receiver to the message. It can be a way of validat- ing that effective communication has taken place.
There are two basic modes of communication; verbal and nonverbal. Verbal communication is that which is spoken or written. A characteristic that distinguishes the verbal from the nonverbal is that verbal communication involves the use of words. Nonverbal communication, on the other hand, does not involve the use of words. Dress, gestures, touching, body language, face and eye behavior, and even silence are forms of non- verbal communication. It should be remembered that even though there are two forms of com- munication, both the verbal and nonverbal are