Perceptions of cultural competency of undergraduate nursing students


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the level of cultural competence of undergraduate nursing students at a large Midwestern University. Background: Developing cultural competence of nurses is critical to meet the needs of our growing diverse society. Methods: A convenience sample of 150 undergraduate nursing students completed a one-time questionnaire assessing students’ cultural competence. Results: Nursing students’ rated their overall knowledge and comfort moderate to poor with only 28% rated themselves as very comfortable and 15% as very skillful in providing culturally competent care. Students rated their knowledge and comfort highest in taking a family history, whereas, the lowest scores were related to pregnancy and childbirth, death and dying, and organ donation in other cultures. Conclusions: Findings suggest that nursing students feel inadequately prepared to provide culturally competent care.

Share and Cite:

Von Ah, D. and Cassara, N. (2013) Perceptions of cultural competency of undergraduate nursing students. Open Journal of Nursing, 3, 182-185. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2013.32024.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Onyoni, E. and Ives, T. (2007) Assessing implementation of cultural competency content in the curricula of colleges of pharmacy in the United States and Canada. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 71, 1-7. doi:10.5688/aj710224
[2] Wells, M.I. (2000) Beyond cultural competence: A model for individual and institutional cultural development. Journal of Community Health, 17, 189-199. doi:10.1207/S15327655JCHN1704_1
[3] Sanner, S., Baldwin, D., Cannella, K., Charles, J. and Parker, L. (2010) The impact of cultural diversity forum on students’ openness to diversity. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 17, 56-61.
[4] Institute of Medicine (2011) The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. The National Academies Press, Washington DC.
[5] American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) (2008) The essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice. American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Washington DC.
[6] Cuellar, N.G., Walsh Brennan, A.M., Vito, K. and De Leon Siantz, M.L. (2008) Cultural competency in the undergraduate nursing curriculum. Journal of Professional Nursing, 24, 43-49. doi:10.1016/j.profnurs.2008.01.004
[7] Giger, J., Davidhizar, R.E., Purnell, L., Harden, J.T., Phillips, J., Strickland, O. and American Academy of Nursing (2007) American academy of nursing expert panel report: Developing cultural competence to eliminate health disparities in ethnic minorities and other vulnerable populations. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 18, 95-102.
[8] Caffrey, R.A., Neander, W., Markle, D. and Stewart, B. (2005) Improving the cultural competence of nursing students: Results of integrating cultural content in the curriculum and an international immersion experience. Journal of Nursing Education, 44, 234-240.
[9] Coffman, M.J., Shellman, J. and Bernal, H. (2004) An integrative review of American nurses’ perceived cultural self-efficacy. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 36, 180-185. doi:10.1111/j.1547-5069.2004.04032.x
[10] Kardong-Edgren, S., Cason, C.L., Brennan, A.M.W., Reifsnider, E., Hummel, F., Mancini, M. and Griffin, C. (2010) Cultural competency of graduating BSN nursing students. Nursing Education Perspectives, 31, 278-285.
[11] Kennedy, H., Fisher, L., Fontaine, D. and Martin-Holland, J. (2008) Evaluating diversity in nursing education: A mixed method study. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 19, 363-370. doi:10.1177/1043659608322500
[12] Amerson, R. (2010) The impact of service-learning on cultural competence. Nursing Education Research, 13, 18-22.
[13] Hughes, K.H. and Hood, L.J. (2007) Teaching methods and an outcome tool for measuring cultural sensitivity in undergraduate students. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 18, 167-174.
[14] Musolino, G.M., Babitz, M., Burkalter, S.T., Thompson, C., Harris, R., Ward, R.S. and Chase-Cantarini, S. (2009) Mutual respect in healthcare: Assessing cultural competence for the University of Utah interdisciplinary health sciences. Journal of Allied Health, 38, 54-62.
[15] Napholz, L. (1999) A comparison of self-reported cultural competency skills among two groups of nursing students: Implications for nursing education. Journal of Nursing Education, 38, 81-83.
[16] Nokes, K.M., Nickitas, D.M., Keida, R. and Neville, S. (2005) Does service-learning increase cultural competency, critical thinking, and civic engagement. Journal of Nursing Education, 44, 65-70.
[17] Larsen, R. and Rief, L. (2011) Effectiveness of cultural immersion and cultural classes for enhancing students’ transcultural self-efficacy. Journal of Nursing Education, 50, 350-354.
[18] Kuehn, A.F., Chircop, A., Downe-Wambolt, B. Sheppard- LeMoine, D., Wittock, L., Herbert, R., Benavides Torres, R.A., Murnaghan, D. and Critchly, K. (2011) Evaluating the impact of North American research exchange program on student cultural awareness. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 8, 1-15. doi:10.2202/1548-923X.1919

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.