Cultural competency in respiratory care education programs




Riehl, Gretchen K.

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The education of future health care workers must include interpersonal skills as well as technical expertise. Cultural competency is one of those skills. The purpose of this study was to explore Respiratory Care Education Program's (RCEPs) integration of cultural competency in its curriculum.

The population was all Associate's and Bachelor's degree respiratory care programs in the United States as listed on the website of the Committee for Accreditation of Respiratory Care. All 324 programs were surveyed with 160 valid surveys returned for a response rate of 49%. An 11-item Cultural Competency Education Inventory was developed by the investigator to determine Cultural Competency Level (CC Level) of each program as well as demographic data on type of degree offered, geographic setting and geographic region. The difference between program's CC Level by demographic data was determined and no statistically significant differences were found.

Additionally, it was found that 91% of the programs responding include at least one cultural competency component in their curriculum. The most common areas of inclusion are patient care, communication, general education, and clinical courses. Of those responding, 50% spent one to five hours on cultural competency and only 12% spent more than 15 hours. Fifty-four percent of the respondents perceived their cultural competency component to be moderately or very adequate. The majority of the program directors responding (52%) felt the clientele served by their clinical affiliates was moderately to very diverse and 62% felt their student body was moderately or very representative.



Education, Cultural competency, Curricula, Respiratory care