Context/background of the project

Equipping health professionals and educators with the tools they need to assess and improve their cultural competence will undoubtedly benefit patients. This project aims to optimize patient safety and patient benefit, by integrating cultural competence into simulation-based education. Simulation education is designed to increase the safety quotient and effectiveness of clinical practice through the rehearsal of skills in an artificial and authentic environment. Diverse patient characteristics may be conveyed through cultural, sensory, language, physical or psychological difference and may increase communication error and threaten patient safety. Arguably, culturally competent health professionals are better prepared to respond to patients with diverse needs relating to, for example, their gender, ethnicity, disability and age. The focus of this project is inclusive clinical practice and this applies not only to patients, but also to diverse health professional students and diverse faculty teachers, for example, those from an ethnic minority background or people experiencing hearing loss.

The project objectives are to:

1. Create a multi-platform web hub dedicated to simulation-based education and cultural competence
2. Design, pilot, adapt and implement a web-based cultural competence self-assessment tool for simulation-based education with health professionals.
3. Design, pilot, adapt and implement a web-based cultural competence tool-kit for health professional simulation-based education.

Number and profile of participants

There are 8 health professional education simulation facilities involved in this project across four EU countries from Universities in England, Ireland, Finland and Slovenia. The target population for this project is pre-registration health professionals (for example, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, paramedics, medical students) across all programme year groups. This project addresses cultural diversity through simulation-based education among a range of health professionals using an inter-professional educational approach.

Description of the activities and methodology

This project addresses the above objectives through action research methodology as this enables a grass-roots level approach to respond to a ‘real world’ concern. One of the first output oriented activities was to design and create a multi-platform web hub. This was performed at the outset because it is integral to the development, implementation and hosting of the other two project outputs; simulation-based education cultural competence self-assessment tool and simulation-based education cultural competence toolkit. The multi-platform web hub serves as a dynamic and interactive space hosting resources; international evidence-based current information and links to other resources relating to cultural diversity and simulation-based education. It offers free, open- access, online materials in a range of languages; initially English, Irish, Finnish and Slovenian.

The second output oriented activity was to design, pilot, adapt and implement the web based cultural competence self-assessment tool. During the second transnational project meeting the project team and other stakeholders agreed the content and process for the development of the self-assessment tool. In 2016, the Association of Simulation in Practice in Health published a standards framework and these are used to organise and guide the development of the self-assessment tool. Cultural competence frameworks and models have been collated and key performance indicators have been be extracted to integrate with the ASPIH standards to form the basis of the self-assessment tool.

The third output oriented activity was to design, pilot, adapt and implement the web based cultural competence tool kit. The process for this was similar to the design, pilot, adaptation and implementation of the self-assessment tool. Once the tool-kit is ready the project team, supported by the Digital Media Working Academy converted it to a web based version.

Results and impact envisaged

The results will be a suite of web based tools that will be available to health professionals and educators to use, to facilitate cultural competence.
The consequence of culturally competent health professionals should be an increase in patient safety and benefit through improved communication and interactions. This could be formally tested later
The project outputs will contribute to the knowledge base around simulation based education and cultural competence.
Potential longer term benefits include the scope to extend the utility of the tools beyond health professionals.