An Innovative Approach to Increasing the Cultural Competence of Nurses Who Care for Childbearing Women and Newborns


Poster Presentation


Significant health disparities exist between childbearing women and newborns from different cultures. Culturally competent nurses are essential to providing adequate care and reducing these disparities. Unfortunately, many nurses acknowledge they are not culturally competent. This study's purpose was to evaluate the effect of two different online cultural competence continuing education interventions on the cultural competence level of obstetric and neonatal nurses. It was hypothesized that there would be a greater increase in the Cultural Competence Assessment scores of the nurses in the socially interactive course group compared to those in the socially isolated course group, and that both groups would have greater increases in Cultural Competence Assessment scores than the control group. The relationships between Cultural Competence Assessment scores and educational level and between Cultural Competence Assessment scores and previous diversity training were also explored.


Experimental pre- and post test.


The study was conducted online.


A nonprobability national sample of obstetric and neonatal nurses.


Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses section leaders were asked to distribute information about the study to their membership. Members wishing to participate registered online and were randomly assigned to the three groups. All participants were asked to complete a pretest during the week experimental groups began the 4-week, 10-hour, cultural competence continuing education courses. They were also asked to complete a post test during the final week.


Ninety-three nurses completed the study. Analysis of covariance revealed a significant difference between groups in post test Cultural Competence Assessment scores after controlling for pretest scores [F(2,61) = 5.2, p = .008]. The socially isolated group scored significantly higher than the control (p = .006), but the socially interactive group did not score significantly higher than the control group or the socially isolated group. Cultural Competence Assessment scores were not related to educational level or previous diversity training (yes/no), but were related to number of types of previous diversity training (r2 = .173, p = .047).

Conclusion/Implications for Nursing Practice

Nurses who provide care to childbearing women and newborns are not currently culturally competent. It is recommended that nursing utilize asynchronous socially isolated online continuing education and educate nurses about its technology. Nurses should be exposed to more types of cultural diversity training and must consistently utilize cultural assessment tools, ideally tailored to their specialty area. Finally, nursing areas must have cultural reference materials specific to their patient populations.