Publication Date

Spring 4-25-2017


School of Nursing


American Sign Language and Interpreting; Nursing (B.S.N.)


Deaf, Deaf Culture, American Sign Language, Nursing, Healthcare, Health Disparities, Health Promotion Education


Health Communication | Nursing | Public Health and Community Nursing


Modern medical professionals strive to provide culturally competent care; however, Deaf[1] culture remains overlooked. Common language and experience draw deaf individuals together as a cultural group. Ignorance about Deaf culture perpetuates barriers to holistic care in the medical setting. Deaf patients receive misdiagnoses, delayed treatment, and privacy breaches. Deaf culture understandably avoids healthcare and is characterized by numerous health disparities as a result. Obstacles hindering Deaf access to healthcare are directly opposed to the intended therapeutic relationship and holistic care. Increased awareness of Deaf culture is required to improve the Deaf’s access to healthcare.

[1] The word deaf should be capitalized when referring to the people group or culture and lowercase when referring to the medical condition (Velonaki et al., 2015).