Cultural competence and cultural humility are ongoing processes that healthcare professionals should continually strive for in order to provide effective and comprehensive plans of care for patients.
This 2-year, longitudinal, educational pilot study describes the levels of competency in second-year entry-level physical therapy students and compares the outcomes of three teaching strategies for cultural competence and cultural humility. All students received a standard 2-hour lecture; study volunteers were randomly assigned to one of two enriched educational groups, involving a standardized patient or a paper case enrichment.
Students shifted from initial levels of “culturally incompetent” and/or “culturally aware” to “culturally competent” as measured by the Inventory for Assessing the Process of Cultural Competence Among Healthcare Professionals-Revised. This shift was maintained after 1.5 yrs following the exposure. Because the enriched educational groups were underpowered, preliminary quantitative data are inconclusive, but qualitative feedback from students is strongly positive.
A minimal dose of a structured 2-hr lecture with a skilled instructor, who creates a safe environment for cultural learning, produced positive shifts toward greater cultural competence.
Five processes emerged for teaching cultural humility that may assist in designing comprehensive educational experiences on this topic. A framework for organizing course content is presented.