Improving Culturally Competent Care for International Students
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Background: As the international student population grows on college campuses across the United States (U.S.), health professionals are challenged to meet national and college health objectives for providing culturally competent care. International students often have unique cultural needs, have lower health literacy, and face language barriers when accessing health care in the U.S. The aim of this Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) project was to implement and evaluate an evidence-based practice change directed at addressing a gap in health care for Chinese international students.
Methods: This DNP quality improvement project introduced translated patient education materials from an online resource for health care providers to use with Chinese international students during the health care visit at a university health center. Provider training on the evidence for the translated materials and how to use them was conducted prior to implementation. The impact of the language materials was evaluated by the patients and providers through two Likert-type surveys. Quality indicators included patient satisfaction, perceived comprehension of the treatment plan, provider utilization and perception of the usefulness of the translated materials.
Results:Among 25 patient surveys collected over a three-month period, patient satisfaction was high, and 100% found the translated materials useful. In a group of eight providers surveyed, all agreed or strongly agreed that the translated materials were useful for the students. Positive patient perception of comprehension of the treatment plan was exhibited by favorable patient and provider responses to related survey items.
Conclusions: Despite overall perceived usefulness of the materials, provider utilization was variable. Reasons cited included adequate English proficiency and lack of pertinent topic on the website. Continued provider training is needed to address the communication and health literacy needs of Chinese international students. Potential future applications include expanding the resources available and offering to any patient whose primary language is not English, to enhance culturally competent care that will improve health outcomes and meet national standards for quality care.