Communication Strategies for Nurses Interacting With Patients Who Are Deaf

Christine Chong-hee Lieu, BA; Georgia Robins Sadler, PhD, MBA, BSN; Judith T. Fullerton, PhD, CNM, FACNM; Paulette Deyo Stohlmann, MSN, RN, OCN


Dermatology Nursing. 2007;19(6):541-544; 549-55. 

In This Article


An undercurrent of mistrust of the hearing community among members of the Deaf community may be exacerbated by health professionals' view of deafness as a pathological condition rather than a cultural characteristic. Deaf patients report that they are more comfortable receiving health care services from providers who have some knowledge of ASL and Deaf culture, and that these experiences are more satisfying (Jeffrey & Austen, 2005; Steinberg et al., 2006).

Nursing education programs should recruit student applicants who already have acquired ASL proficiency and Deaf cultural competence. They also should include basic ASL in the nursing curriculum in the same way that Spanish and other second language learning is offered. Hos pitals and clinics should facilitate and fund nurses' acquisition of basic ASL and Deaf cultural competencies to assure institutional compliance with the ADA. ASL and Deaf culture classes are offered at minimal cost in many adult learning centers and community colleges around the country.

Providing culturally competent care, which includes the utilization of effective communication strategies, is a "best practice" that can overcome barriers and positively transform the health care experiences of members of the Deaf community.


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