Does a student's ethnicity affect their understanding of cultural competency?


Cultural competency has been described as the ability to provide care to patients with various behaviours, beliefs, and values. In essence, creating a working culture and practices that recognise, respect, value and harness differences for the benefit of the organisation and individuals (Nayar, 2013). However, this is just one of the many definitions present; there is currently no widely accepted definition of cultural competency used for the healthcare sector. This lack of a clear explanation is both a reason and a contributing factor to the increasing research into cultural competency.

The research method used in this study was an explorative semi-structured focus-group. It involved pharmacy students studying at the University of Huddersfield. Students were interviewed in a focus group style setting and data was transcribed and then coded into themes, which were then further coded into sub-themes utilising a system of semantic thematic analysis. Students showed a holistic understanding of cultural competency and could define it in-line with standard definitions. However, findings showed there was still a gap as to how to apply it in practice especially when dealing with patients of a different ethnicity. The results highlight the positive and negative attributes of student and patient ethnicity towards patient care. The majority of students showed confidence when serving patients of the same ethnicity as them. When dealing with some patients of different ethnicities, students indicated that they knew little about other cultures and therefore struggled to overcome cultural barriers.

How to Cite

Knight, T. A., (2020) “Does a student's ethnicity affect their understanding of cultural competency?”, Fields: journal of Huddersfield student research 6(1). doi:


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Tino Alison Knight (Pharmacy)





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