Medical information is prime gossip material. The
prohibition on the release of medical information is
sometimes difficult to remember, but it is essential to
the maintenance of professional integrity.
One important commitment that all Corps
personnel have is the obligation never to abuse the
controlled substances that we have access toor to
tolerate abuse by others. These substances are on the
ward or in the mount-out block for use, under a medical
officers supervision, for the care of patients. Any
other use must not be tolerated.
Excellent personal hygience habits, including
cleanliness, neat hair styles, and spotless, correct
uniforms are essential for the Hospital Corps. Our
appearance can positively or negatively influence the
opinion the public has of the medical community. Both
a professional appearance and attitude enhance the
overall reputation of the Navy Medical Department and
reinforce our role as competent healthcare providers.
Naval leadership is based on personal example,
good management, and moral responsibility. All of the
personal traits previously discussed are also
considered leadership traits. You will learn that many
examples of effective leadership are those that are set
by officers, chief petty officers, and senior petty
officers. The success of the Medical Department rests
heavily on the petty officer. Good petty officers are the
backbone of the Medical Department, whether they are
supervising military personnel or conducting
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Recognize how
an understanding of a patients culture, race,
religion, sex, and age can affect interpersonal
As a healthcare provider, you must be able to
identify, understand, and use various kinds of
information. In addition, it is important that you
develop good interpersonal relations skills.
providing total patient care, it is important that you see
the individual not only as a biological being, but also as
a thinking, feeling person.
Your commitment to
understanding this concept is the key to your
developing good interpersonal relationships.
Simply stated, your interpersonal relationships are
the result of how you regard and respond to people.
Many elements influence the development of that
regard and those responses.
In the following
discussion, some of these elements will be discussed as
they apply to your involvement in the military service
and to your relationships with other healthcare
providers and the patient.
Because of the multi- and cross-cultural nature and
military mission of the Navy Medical Department, you
will frequently encounter members of various cultures.
Culture is defined as a group of socially learned,
shared standards (norms) and behavior patterns.
Concepts such as perceptions, values, beliefs, and
goals are examples of shared norms. In addition,
apparel, eating habits, and personal hygiene reflect
common behavior patterns of specific groups of
An understanding of common norms and
behavior patterns enhances the qualityand often the
quantityof service a provider is able to make
available. An individuals cultural background has an
effect on every area of healthcare service, ranging from
a simple technical procedure to the content and
effectiveness of health education activities. Becoming
familiar with the beliefs and practices of different
cultural and subcultural groups (the military
community, for example) is not only enriching to the
healthcare provider, but also promotes an under-
standing and acceptance of the various peoples in the
The term race is a classification assigned to a
group of people who share inherited physical
characteristics. This term becomes a socially
significant reality since people tend to attach great
importance to assuming or designating a racial
identity. Information identifying racial affiliation can
be an asset to the healthcare provider in assessing the
patients needs, carrying out direct-care activities, and
planning and implementing patient education
programs. Racial identification has the potential to
create a negative environment in the healthcare setting
when factors such as skin color differences motivate