Assessing the Effectiveness of a Cultural Awareness Program

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Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Biennial Convention


Cultural competency is an important component of all baccalaureate nursing programs. Integration within a curriculum is the most common method for teaching cultural competency, but few studies have been done to establish the effectiveness any method. Our school of nursing, placed emphasis on the development of cultural awareness as a first step to competency. Our plan for cultural teaching utilized a diversity expert to lead a class in self exploration of attitudes, and cultural considerations were imbedded within courses and across all clinical experiences. Popular with students, it was not known if these changes had real impact. A pretest-post test study was implemented. Change in cultural awareness was measured by the Cross Cultural Adaptability Inventory (CCAI) administered to students in the sophomore year prior to exposure to cultural competency material and repeated in the senior year. A paired t test compared aggregate mean scores. The CCAI is a self awareness inventory that does not predict success in cross cultural interactions but focuses on an individual's readiness to interact with persons from another culture. The final N for the study was 81. Results revealed significant increases in subscale scores for emotional resilience, perceptual acuity and personal autonomy. Male students increased scores in three subscales; female students improved in two. Correlations were calculated between age, gender, living abroad, and the mean change in CCAI scores. A weak positive correlation between age and emotional resilience was found. Students in our sample were slightly higher than the normative CCAI scores for persons with some college education. The results show an increase in cultural awareness from the sophomore to the senior year meaning that senior students who participated program were less frustrated and threatened and more self confident in contacts with persons of another culture.