Purpose: Health care educators have a major responsibility to prepare future health care practitioners to provide services for culturally diverse clients. As a starting point, prior to making any curricular changes, the cultural adaptability of the faculty needs to be measured; therefore, this study was conducted to determine the cultural adaptability of the faculty within a College of Health Sciences of an urban regional university in Southeastern Virginia.
Methods: The sample consisted of 40 health sciences faculty representing dental hygiene, medical laboratory sciences, nursing and physical therapy. The principal investigator personally administered the Cross-Cultural Adaptability Inventory (CCAI), a 50-item instrument that contains questions to measure the construct cultural adaptability and its four dimensions: emotional resilience, flexibility/openness, perceptual acuity, and personal autonomy. The CCAI is not targeted to one particular culture, but rather is designed to be culture general.
Results: Overall, all four faculty groups exhibited higher average CCAI scores than the CCAI norm group which consisted of individuals with cross-cultural experience and training. Analysis of variance revealed no statistically significant difference, at the 0.05 level, in the overall CCAI scores among the health sciences faculty. Analysis of CCAI scores among the health sciences faculty, using analysis of variance revealed no statistically significant difference, at the 0.05 level, in emotional resilience, perceptual acuity, and personal autonomy. In the dimension flexibility/openness, a significant difference was exhibited between the physical therapy and medical laboratory sciences faculty.
Conclusions: These qualities should provide a strong foundation for the development of additional competence in cross-cultural health care and for preparing practitioners who can provide culturally sensitive health care. Further exploration to determine whether a cross culturally adaptable faculty can impart this attribute to students might be to administer the CCAI to entering and exiting students.