In the recent article “Effects of Transcultural Nursing Education on the Professional Values, Empathic Skills, Cultural Sensitivity and Intelligence of Students”, Kaçan and Örsal (2020) examine the impact of transcultural nursing on medical students. The authors argue that the increased transnational and domestic migration levels make such qualities as cultural awareness and respect crucial for modern healthcare professionals. The latter should not only be able to effectively communicate with patients of various religious and ethnic backgrounds but also understand that culture largely determines the standards of healthiness. As a result, nurses that recognize and appreciate the cultural diversity among the patients have better chances to provide equal care for all the people.
In order to ensure that more and more possess those qualities, many academics propose that universities around the world should provide special transcultural courses. In this regard, the authors of the article under review developed an experiment that would assess whether attending the specialized courses would lead to students’ better cultural awareness. As can be seen from the title, Kaçan and Örsal decide to concentrate their attention on such subcomponents of transcultural nursing as professional values, empathy, cultural sensitivity, and cultural intelligence.
The experiment was conducted at Bursa Uludağ University, Turkey, where the authors created a special course on transcultural nursing solely for the period of the study. The experimental group consisted of 65 students who enrolled for the course, whereas the control group included 60 people. Additionally, the authors made comparisons between various genders and study backgrounds. As was mentioned above, the skills that form cultural competence were divided by the authors into four categories. To measure each, the researchers adopted the scales that were successfully used and proved reliable by previous studies. They included nurses’ professional values scale revised form, empathic skill scale-B form, intercultural sensitivity scale, and cultural intelligence scale. The raw data were analyzed using frequency analysis, independent-samples t-test, and ANOVA at a 95% significance rate.
The answers to the first scale that measured professional values revealed that female students, on average, scored significantly higher than their male classmates. However, the females in the experimental group had significantly higher professional values than females in the control group. On the contrary, males in both groups did not exhibit any notable difference. To explain such gaps between female and male results, the authors hypothesize that for the latter, it is still challenging to develop professional ownership as nursing historically has been considered a female profession. Additionally, those students who attended medical vocational high schools scored considerably higher than other participants.
As for empathy, it was found that both males and females in experimental groups were significantly more compassionate to their patients as a result of the transcultural nursing course. However, the difference between sexes within both studied groups was almost absent, suggesting that females and males are generally equally empathic and can learn empathy with identical efficiency. Moreover, students’ educational background was not important neither in relation to the empathy levels of the control group nor concerning the participants’ ability to learn this skill.
Finally, only females exhibited significant improvements in intercultural sensitivity and cultural intelligence after taking the course, whereas, for males, the difference was statistically unimportant. In a similar manner, the type of attended high school also did not have any significant impact on the test results. Therefore, summarizing the results of the four scales, the authors conclude that transcultural courses are an effective method to develop cultural competence in nurses.