Cultural competency perceptions of physician assistant students

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Hook, Amy
Muma, Richard D.

Cultural competency education has become increasingly important in health care education in order to treat patients in a nation of diversity. A standardized way of introducing cultural competency material and testing its effectiveness has not yet been formalized. Methodology: The purpose of this study was to analyze whether cultural competency attitudes of physician assistant students changed after completing a cultural competency curriculum based on a federally funded diversity workforce grant. A pre and post intervention survey of 15 questions was completed by a class of 42 physician assistant students. Results were analyzed using the Chi-Square statistic. Results: Attitudes regarding cultural competency were primarily unchanged from before and after completing the cultural competency curriculum. However, one item was statistically significant in terms of a relationship between pre and post intervention. Students initially believed that PAs cannot give excellent health care without knowing the patients’ understanding of their illness. However, after completing the cultural competency curriculum, students believed that PAs could do so. Conclusion: This preliminary study of PA students’ attitudes of cultural competency represents the attitudes of one class of PA students, where no significant changes were seen. Further studies are recommended in order to assess a variety of PA programs and cultural competency curricula.

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A project presented to the Department of Physician Assistant of Wichita State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Physician Assistant.