Self-Perceived Attitudes and Skills of Cultural Competence: A Comparison of Family Medicine and Internal Medicine Residents

Johanna Shapiro, Judy Hollingshead & Elizabeth Morrison

This study surveyed resident perceptions of competent cross-cultural doctor–patient communication as a step toward developing an integrative primary care cross-cultural curriculum. Respondents were 57 first-, second- and third-year residents in family medicine (FM) and internal medicine (IM) who completed a questionnaire assessing cross-cultural attitudes and skills relevant to clinical practice. As a group, residents endorsed the relevance of culturally competent communication to patient care, perceived themselves to be fairly competent in the use of culturally competent communication techniques, used such techniques frequently, and generally found them to be quite helpful. FM residents rated culturally competent communication as significantly more relevant, themselves as more competent, and culturally competent communication techniques as more helpful than did IM residents. Over half the residents in both specialties tended to identify as serious cross-cultural problems those that focused on perceived patient shortcomings.

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