Professional Poster

Incorporating Cultural Considerations to Care During an Interprofessional Simulation Activity

cultural competence

Background: Healthcare professionals interact daily with individuals who are culturally different from themselves and need to have skills for working with these differences to ensure the best care is provided. Incorporating training to enhance health professional learners’ understanding of cultural considerations and their impact on care is an important component of a modern curriculum. Current research has identified gaps in the inclusion of cultural considerations in the education of future healthcare professionals. This study aimed to evaluate pharmacy, nutrition science, and nursing students’ assessment of their own cultural attitudes and skills before and after completing activities structured around caring for patients with cultural backgrounds impacting their care.

Methodology: Students worked in interprofessional teams to complete simulated encounters with standardized patients that focused on the consideration of how their cultural, ethnic, religious beliefs, behaviors, and mannerisms impact their treatment and interactions with the healthcare provider(s). Students completed a Cultural Continua assessment adapted from Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions and the AAC&U Intercultural Knowledge and Competence Assessment (IKCA) surrounding the activity. Anonymized data from both assessments was collected from all three disciplines across several years, then analyzed to identify trends.

Results: During 2019, 2020, and 2022, 674 students completed the Cultural Continua assessment and 666 students completed the IKCA. Results show strong similarities across all disciplines in students’ self-assessment of their cultural competencies and attitudes. For example, in the 2019 IKCA, pharmacy, nutrition science, and nursing students self-assessed their knowledge of cultural worldview framework at an average of 3.06, 3.15, and 3.05, respectively, indicating an adequate but not sophisticated understanding of the complex components of others’ cultures.

Conclusion: Despite there being a gap in the inclusion of cultural consideration activities within healthcare education, participation in a culturally-focused activity showed similar cultural attitudes and competencies among interprofessional health science learners. Healthcare education programs should continue to provide culturally-based activities and allow students to assess their own competencies as they learn how to best collaborate with different healthcare teams and care for diverse patients.

Reflection: This activity has provided students in three health professional programs an opportunity to discuss how cultural differences impact the care they provide as well as the way they interact with each other. This activity is one that can be utilized within an individual curriculum or include an interprofessional mix of healthcare students. These programs are an important step in helping students develop the skills to recognize and work with cultural differences.