The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2012 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Crystal L. Dunlevy, Abigail Maxwell, Mary Parise, Marci Scovil; School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

BACKGROUND: Cultural awareness among healthcare professionals is becoming increasingly important as the U.S. population becomes more diverse. It is the responsibility of the educational system to prepare future health care professionals to interact with patients from different cultures. OBJECTIVES: The purpose of the study was to determine the extent to which programs in OSU HRS are educating their students about cultural awareness; measure students’ cultural awareness levels using a validated instrument; and compare cultural awareness levels between students who receive < 15 hours of instruction during their professional programs (including the Respiratory Therapy program) to students who have completed a course on that topic. METHODS: HRS Division Directors completed a questionnaire designed to determine the extent to which they currently address cultural awareness in their programs. Senior students enrolled in HRS undergraduate programs were also surveyed using a 36-item valid, reliable questionnaire designed to measure their level of cultural awareness. Student’s paired t-tests were used to compare cultural awareness levels between students who received < 15 hours of instruction to students who completed a course on the topic. p < 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant. RESULTS: Responses from 65 students who completed a course on cultural awareness were compared with those of 97 students who received < 15 hours of instruction on the same topic. Statistically significant differences were found in 28% (10/36) of the survey questions. All seven division directors completed faculty surveys; students from six/seven HRS divisions completed surveys. CONCLUSIONS: Survey items that elicited information about students’ personal beliefs surrounding cultural differences were not statistically different between the two groups. Questions that asked specifically about the degree to which HRS instructors prepared students to interact with people from other cultures revealed a statistically significant difference between groups. According to the study results, students who complete coursework on cultural awareness report that they feel better prepared to care for patients from different cultures. Sponsored Research - None