Objective: Breastfeeding is strongly influenced by cultural considerations. Therefore, culturally competent healthcare professionals can provide more appropriate breastfeeding support and information. The purpose of this study was to measure the general cultural competence of healthcare professionals caring for breastfeeding mothers in an urban area.
Methods: Healthcare professionals involved in the care of breastfeeding mothers in New York, NY were surveyed utilizing Campinha-Bacote's Inventory for Assessing the Process of Cultural Competence Among Healthcare Professionals-Revised (IAPCC-R) and a demographic data instrument.
Results: Of 141 surveyed healthcare professionals, 128 completed the questionnaire. There were 18 physicians, 69 nurses, and 41 other allied health professionals in this sample. Of those surveyed, 76% reported a majority of their clients' cultural background differed from their own, 56% had studied cultural diversity in school, and 68% had attended a continuing education class on the subject. The mean score on the IAPCC-R was 68 +/- 9, which is culturally aware on Campinha-Bacote's continuum of culturally incompetent, culturally aware, culturally competent, and culturally proficient. There was no statistical difference in IAPCC-R scores whether or not the respondents had attended courses in school or worked with a more diverse population. Professionals who had attended continuing education courses on cultural diversity had significantly higher total scores (69 +/- 9 vs. 65 +/- 7, P = 0.021) and scores for cultural skill (14 +/- 2 vs. 13 +/- 2, P = 0.002) and desire (17 +/- 2 vs. 16 +/- 2, P = 0.011). Twenty-three percent of the participants achieved a score of cultural competence. They were more likely to have attended continuing education courses on cultural diversity (31% vs. 7%, P = 0.0003).
Conclusions: The majority (77%) of healthcare professionals caring for breastfeeding mothers in urban areas did not achieve a score of cultural competence.