Interprofessional simulation as an educational tool to assess cultural competence among health professions students

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Paris, Donna Marie
Slaymaker, Rachel Renee
Guest, Heather Ann
Kalb, Amy

Paris, Donna Marie DNP, RN, CCRN-K, CNE; Slaymaker, Rachel Renee EdD, LMSW; Guest, Heather Ann MSN, RN, CNE, CHSE; Kalb, Amy Christine DSW, LMSW. Interprofessional Simulation as an Educational Tool to Assess Cultural Competence Among Health Professions Students. Simulation in Healthcare: The Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare 18(3):p 163-171, June 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/SIH.0000000000000655



The concept of collaborative practice within health professions is viewed as "best practice." Poor collaboration can adversely affect patient safety. Interprofessional (IP) teamwork skills can be developed and nurtured through the health professionals' education; however, many barriers exist, which deter this from occurring. A lack of cultural diversity exposure within the healthcare setting can result in treatment disparities and place the patient at risk. One healthcare area that has gained considerable interest is the practitioners' understanding of multiculturalism and how cultural competence subsequently influences health disparities.


This study examined the application of culturally complex clinical simulation scenarios that intentionally integrated IP teamwork and hypothesized that participants' understanding of cultural competence would improve.


Participants were junior-level nursing, bachelor-level social work, graduate-level occupational therapy, and PharmD students (N = 180) who participated in an IP simulation exercise composed of culturally complex clinical scenarios performed by trained standardized patients designed to demonstrate underrepresented populations with diverse religious/spiritual, sexual orientation, racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, psychosocial, and geographic characteristics. Survey tools included an adapted Multicultural Awareness, Knowledge, and Skills Survey (MAKSS) and the Cultural Awareness Assessment Tool (CAAT). Descriptive statistical analyses were conducted to describe the sample population with the use of inferential statistics to analyze the MAKSS and CAAT scores using a statistical significance level of 0.05. Data were analyzed using SPSS v25 using paired t tests to compare pretest-posttest results.


Results showed that there was a statistically significant increase in MAKSS and CAAT scores from presimulation to postsimulation. The findings also suggest that participation in this type of exercise may have increased self-assessment of cultural awareness and multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills among health professions students.


This study described the planning and execution of a large multiple scenario simulation event that involved 180 students spanning 5 healthcare disciplines. Findings demonstrated that the IP simulation event improved the students' self-assessment of multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills as well as their own cultural awareness. The exploration of cultural competence and humility should be a priority for simulation-based learning.

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