The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2010 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Linda Birnbaum, Valerie Olson, Andrew McDonough, Raju Parasher; Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ

Background: Given the changing minority demographics of the US population and their consequent diverse healthcare needs, it is imperative that healthcare workers become culturally competent (Benkert et al., 2005). Respiratory Therapists (RTs), a large part of the healthcare team are increasingly interacting with this diverse population. This study investigated the current levels of cultural self-efficacy in practicing RTs and how they compare to nurses. Methods: The Cultural Self-Efficacy Scale (CSES) survey tool and a demographic questionnaire were sent to 1000 respiratory therapists and 1000 nurses. The CSES measures the confidence in knowledge and skills of healthcare workers in providing transcultural care using a 5 point Likert scale (Bernal & Froman, 1987). The CSES is divided into three subscales: cultural concepts, cultural skills, and cultural patterns. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data and where needed, differences were evaluated using an independent t-test, p<0.05. Results: Four hundred and eighty three surveys were returned for a response rate of 22.4%. The returned surveys were broken down by profession as follows: 182 respiratory therapists, 258 nurses, and 10 were both professions. Reliability of the CSES using Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was 0.97. Participants were primarily Caucasian with an average age of 47-49 years, who had earned at least an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Combined, the two samples had an average of 19-22 years of work experience. The mean total CSES scores for the RTs were 3.40 and 3.41 for the nurses, indicating confident to moderately confident cultural self-efficacy. There was no significant difference between RTs and the nurses in the overall CSES levels; however they differed in cultural skills, with nurses scoring higher than RTs. Conclusion: Overall the results suggest that RTs have average levels of confidence in providing care to a culturally diverse population. Interestingly, their levels of confidence matched other healthcare providers (nurses), despite having had no formal education in cultural diversity. It is possible that their years on the job may have contributed to the acquisition of this skill (19-22 yr). This study provides preliminary data on this very important subject. Given the small sample size and geographical location, extrapolation of the results should be exercised with caution. Sponsored Research - None