Health care providers engaging in cross-cultural work will likely experience culture shock, a psychological, behavioral, and physiologic response to new cultural environments that can significantly affect travelers. Culture shock has the potential for both negative and positive outcomes. Well-being, health, and professionalism can be nega-tively influenced during the peak of culture shock, but the experience may also positive-ly promote transformative learning and professional identity formation. Culture shock has been carefully researched for different types of sojourners, such as undergraduate students and business personnel, but minimally for health care providers. This article defines culture shock, describes different health care–related cross-cultural opportuni-ties, identifies factors contributing to culture shock, describes complexities related to measuring culture shock, depicts common cross-cultural challenges encountered by traveling health care providers, and offers tangible guidance to help prepare for culture shock. We conclude with a call for further research and resource development to support the well-being of an increasingly global health care workforce.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health