Teaching and Measuring Multicultural Competence of Physical Therapy Students Across the Nation: A Cross-Sectional Study of What is Being Taught and How Learning is Measured

Purpose/Hypothesis : Cultural competence education may impact healthcare access, compliance, and patient provider relationships. There is lack of evidence for theory based cultural competence teaching methods across physical therapy programs. The purpose of this study is to determine to what extent cultural competence is taught and measured in physical therapy curricula across the United States and Puerto Rico. The hypotheses are that physical therapy programs will measure cultural competence without a reliable and valid method, and that teaching methods will not be theory based.Number of Subjects : 112 physical therapy faculty members from CAPTE accredited programs participated in the survey. 6 physical therapy programs participated in focus group discussions.Materials/Methods : This study utilized a descriptive cross-sectional mixed methodology design, consisting of a survey and focus group discussions. The survey was validated by a panel of experts. Descriptive statistics were performed on all variables of interest. Correlational analysis of the surveyÕs questions was also completed. Qualitative analysis of the focus group discussions resulted in emerging themes.Results : 71.5% of survey participants disagreed or strongly disagreed that physical therapy faculty reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of the United States. 84.9% of faculty disagreed or strongly disagreed that cultural competence cannot be taught, and 59.4% were unaware of valid and reliable measurement tools for clinicians. Only 49.1% agreed or strongly agreed that sexual orientation and religion are integrated throughout the curriculum, and more respondents were undecided (18.2%), possibly reflecting that physical therapy faculty members are less familiar with or less committed to this area of cultural competence. 3 major themes emerged following focus group analysis: evolving definition of cultural competence, emerging role of cultural competence in DPT curriculum, and faculty obstacles in regards to cultural competence. The majority of focus group participants believed that cultural competence can be taught, but methods of teaching were not theory based.Conclusions : Future research is needed to develop theory based teaching methods and valid outcome measures to assess how physical therapy students progress towards cultural competence.Clinical Relevance : Expanding cultural competence research will enable faculty to make informed curricular decisions about teaching and measuring cultural competence content. Students will be better prepared to provide quality care as they enter todayÕs diverse health care setting.

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  • Control #: 1727599
  • Type: Platform
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Moran Arad, Christie Espiritu, Melissa Tippets, Annlee Burch
  • Keywords: cultural competence|teaching methods

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