Cultural competence of Australian dental students
AuthorMarino, R; Satur, J; Tuncer, E; Tran, M; Milford, E; Vivien, MTHT; Phuong, QT; Tsai, RP-H
Source TitleBMC Medical Education
AffiliationMelbourne Dental School
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsMarino, R., Satur, J., Tuncer, E., Tran, M., Milford, E., Vivien, M. T. H. T., Phuong, Q. T. & Tsai, R. P. -H. (2021). Cultural competence of Australian dental students. BMC MEDICAL EDUCATION, 21 (1), https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-021-02589-9.
Access StatusOpen Access
BACKGROUND: Australia possesses a highly multicultural demographic, and thus dental practitioners are likely to regularly encounter culturally and linguistically diverse individuals. It is important for dental practitioners to be culturally competent, however, cultural competency education is highly variable in the curricula of dentistry and oral health courses in Australia, and research is largely limited to dentistry students. This study aims to investigate and compare perceived attitudes, beliefs and practices of cultural competence amongst first and final year Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and Bachelor of Oral Health (BOH) students at the University of Melbourne Dental School. METHODS: Following ethics approval, anonymous questionnaires were completed by 213 participants. The questionnaire was adapted from Schwarz's Healthcare Provider Cultural Competence Instrument and consisted of five scales. Data was analysed using SPSS V 24.0 software. RESULTS: A total of 213 students participated in this study (response rate = 88%) The majority of participants were female (n = 114, 53.5%) and the mean age of 23.5 years (range 18-40). The majority of participants were Australian born (n = 110) with 74.6% (n = 159) first generation Australians. Participants who identified as Australian represented 35.7% (n = 76) with 66.1% (n = 141) identified as partly Australian. Multivariate analysis indicated that, after controlling for other independent variables in the model, those who had the highest cultural competence score were female, who self-identify as "Australian", who were in the final year. Furthermore, those who were in the final BOH year scored significatively higher than final year DDS students. CONCLUSION: The findings of this study suggest that there is a significant difference in students self-reported cultural competence at different stages of their education. This may be attributed to differences in cultural competence education, scope of practice and the type of patient encounters and role modelling that students may experience. Future research should involve follow up to create longitudinal data, as well as research at other dental schools in Australia and overseas.
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