Developing Students’ Linguistic and Cultural Competence for the Care of Patients with Limited English-Proficiency
Purpose: Patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) are at risk for poorer healthcare experiences and outcomes. An interprofessional (IPE) experience for students in the DPT program and the university’s English Language Institute (ELI) was designed to develop student physical therapists’ linguistic and cultural competence in the care of patients with LEP, and to provide opportunities for students in the ELI to practice speaking and interacting with students who are English proficient. This presentation will focus on the DPT students’ experiences. Methods/Description: Faculty in the DPT program and the ELI developed a two-session module to meet enhanced DPT curricular objectives. The first session consisted of a lecture and in-class activities on strategies for improving healthcare communication across languages and cultures. The second session consisted of two opportunities for DPT students to perform basic history taking with students from the ELI. DPT students video-recorded their interactions to allow for later self-assessment, provided a reflection on their video performances, and completed a 10-question survey on the value of the two-session module. The non-graded reflection question provided 5 prompts related to the quality of the DPT students’ non-verbal and non-verbal interactions. Results/Outcomes: 100% of DPT students found the interaction with the ELI students to be useful. 92% felt the sessions prepared them to communicate in a clinical environment. 90% felt it was helpful in initiating and responding with sensitivity to cultural differences. 76% felt prepared to incorporate language strategies. Only 55% felt prepared to incorporate the use of an interpreter in a patient care session. Student reflections identified improved transitions between formal and informal conversation, awareness of using colloquial and idiomatic language, pacing of communication, and using the strategies learned in class to create reliable communication. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: The module was successful in achieving the goal of developing student physical therapists’ linguistic and cultural competence for the care of patients with limited English-proficiency. We will continue to include these sessions as part of communication development. The results of the survey indicate the need to include an interpreter experience during the applied practice sessions. Ongoing monitoring during the full-time clinical experiences of the impact of these sessions on student performance with patients with limited English proficiency could provide information as to the long-term benefits.