Ethical problem in the praxis

We have to write an essay about an ethical problem in our daily life as an professional. About a month ago I was sitting in our kitchen in our small pivate practice. My colleague steped to me and stated: “Oh no, no is coming Mrs. T. who doesn’t speach any German, they should learn German when living here, you can’t explain them anything.” I didn’t know how to react on this. Shall I say something or not?

On one hand I understand my colleague, it is difficult sometimes; but on the other hand do I think it is possible to explain with the hands and showing the exercises. It was not the first time she said something and I think she treats them with less motivation. My colleague doesn’t have any problems with persons living here from different countries, she just have difficulties when they don’t speak German.


3 Replies to “Ethical problem in the praxis”

  1. Hi there. It’s very challenging when trying to work with a patient who speaks a different language. In South Africa we have 11 official languages and sometimes patients – especially in rural areas – can only speak their home language. We often have to figure out a way to make it happen.

    I’m not sure that there is anything you can do, other than to try and engage your colleague in what may be a difficult conversation. Sometimes we don’t even realise that what we’re saying may come across in a very negative way, and just having someone point that out may make a difference.

    You may also want to explain to your colleague how it may be difficult for the patient, coming for treatment in a language that they don’t understand. The therapist may not like the fact that the patient can’t speak German but it’s unlikely that the therapist is afraid, or confused, or anxious. The patient may be all of these things, and they may be made worse by not being able to speak German. A little bit of empathy may go a long way.


  2. Hi there

    I understand you and your college both as well. I also find it difficult to communicate with ‘no language’ however, with signs and expressions. It might be that your colleague is in a kind of conflict: she would like to meet the professional ethics of physiotherapy and wants to provide quality of her service but this is somehow difficult by not being able to communicate properly. My colleague is a very ambitious therapist (doctor of physiotherapy) and she told me recently that she really has a conflict exact for that reason for not being able to communicate properly to provide quality.
    I am always a bit modest (Swiss like šŸ˜‰ ) by confronting someone with something. However, sometime I do seeki a dialogue when I really feel bad about something. It is not always easy to weight pros and cons wether to say something or not. Saying something with a price of humor could sometimes help šŸ™‚

    I wish you nice conversations in your team!


  3. Thanks for your comments.
    It could be that my collegaue feels uncertain without the language as a communicator and that she never have been in a similar situation.
    Another aspect I was thinking about, is that the self-responisiveness and motivation of the patients have a great importance in her treatment and that she might associates the missing German knowledge with missing self-responisiveness. Perhaps as a result of experience or misunderstanding.


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