Lessons on Cultural Competency: The Nod

I recently stumbled on Dr. Kimberly Manning’s blog “Reflections of a Grady Doctor” and found this gem. She recently had her article “The Nod” published in The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA)  – the July 9, 2014 issue. The Nod is a reflection on a common “black-on-black acknowledgment usually given in situations where only a few other black people are sprinkled through an environment together.” This article really resonated with me because:

(1) I find that I do, “the nod” almost every day at work, often when passing another black person in the hallway. I noticed it so much so, that I recently began thinking, when did this become a habit? I don’t remember doing this so much.

(2) I love that Dr. Manning chose to turn her student’s observations of the nod into a teachable moment – a lesson on cultural competency.

She was asked to do an author reading of her piece. So here is Dr. Manning’s “The Nod”

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 10.50.03 PM


Click to listen to audio 

Click here to read article – You may need a subscription to JAMA or institutional access

Key points: 

“There are still many situations where it’s easy to feel either invisible or like that speck of pepper. Given that truth, ‘the nod’ is really just this subtle way of saying to that other lone face in the room or in that group what others’ actions sometimes neglect to say: “I see you.” Even if someone else doesn’t, see you and you aren’t invisible.”

“Creating space to give each other these metaphorical nods breaks down barriers and, as health care professionals, ultimately helps us better relate to our patients and to each other.”

 You can check out Dr. Kimberly Manning’s blog here: http://www.gradydoctor.com/


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