Assessment of Cultural Competence Among Healthcare Students Before and After: University-wide Interprofessional Education Activities
Background: Our client population is becoming increasingly diverse. Cultural competence is an important skill set for health care providers to serve this diverse client population, improve healthcare outcomes and engage in collaborative work with colleagues. Interprofessional education (IPE) activities for healthcare students provide a vehicle to develop and enhance cultural competence. In this study, we sought to investigate the effect of university-wide interprofessional activities on cultural competence among students from four health care programs and explore student characteristics.
Design/Method: Students from four health care disciplines (pharmacy, nursing, physician assistant, occupational therapy) were invited to complete the validated Global Worldview Cultural Competence Survey (used with author permission) in hard-copy at the start of their respective curriculum and again electronically after completing the required University-wide IPE activities. The IPE activities were held during their first three didactic semesters. The activities included a roles and responsibilities activity, a book club centered on healthcare-related intercultural conflicts, a cross-cultural simulation, and an event focusing on an interprofessional approach to the management of opioid use disorder. Demographics of the student population and curricular exposure to cultural competence for each participating healthcare program were also collected. Total pre and post survey scores were calculated to determine level of cultural competence. Aggregate pre and post data were analyzed using SPSS and Excel.
Results: Response rates were 95% for pre-survey (n=192) and 34% for post-survey (n=62). Twenty-two percent of students (pre-survey) scored in the lowest levels of cultural competence vs. 4% of students (post-survey). There was a statistically significant difference between the pre- and post-score on the cultural competence scale. Students' average score increased from 119 to 127 demonstrating a higher level of cultural competence and awareness (t = 83.430; p= <.001).
Health care education programs may benefit from incorporating university-wide IPE programming to foster development of cultural competence amongst students.
Reflections: Limitations to this study include a low post survey response rate which may have been due to switching from a paper to electronic format during the COVID 19 pandemic. Further investigation of the influence of student characteristics and experiences could provide insight into the design of IPE activities to develop and enhance cultural competence.