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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present teaching strategies to enhance students’ cultural competence in non-diverse educational settings. Methods: Utilizing Purnell’s cultural competence model and Lattanzi’s cultural ladder the authors describe teaching strategies used to promote students’ understanding of the complex nature of culture and how the multiple layers of culture influence the healthcare professional-client relationship. Teaching strategies and subsequent student reflections are presented. Results: Students adjusted client interventions and plans of care when confronted with various cultural characteristics of their clients. Integrating cultural issues in non-diverse academic settings challenges faculty to create situations that include cultural differences. The Purnell model demonstrates the complex nature of culture and the difficulties in understanding the various dimensions of culture. Lattanzi provides a framework for applying Purnell’s model, beginning with cultural sensitivity and awareness, then working toward integration of cultural concepts in clinical interactions. Combining aspects of these cultural models, the authors layered cultural dimensions to course and clinical activities thereby increasing students’ awareness of culture’s influence on clinical interactions.Conclusion: While selection of diverse clinical settings provides invaluable immersion experiences for cultural competence, faculty in non-diverse academic settings can incorporate diversity dimensions within the academic curriculum to prepare students for the multicultural client population they may encounter as healthcare practitioners.

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