Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Luz Porter

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Anahid Kulwicki

Third Advisor's Name

Paulette Johnson

Fourth Advisor's Name

Eric Fenkl


cultural competency, nursing education, curriculum, nursing students, cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity, cultural diversity

Date of Defense



This study examined differences in cultural competency levels between undergraduate and graduate nursing students (age, ethnicity, gender, language at home, education level, program standing, program track, diversity encounters, and previous diversity training). Participants were 83% women, aged 20 to 62; 50% Hispanic/Latino; with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (n = 82) and a Master of Science in Nursing (n = 62). Degrees included high school diplomas, associate/diplomas, bachelors’ degrees in or out of nursing, and medical doctorate degrees from outside the United States. Students spoke English (n = 82) or Spanish (n = 54). The study used a cross-sectional design guided by the three-dimensional cultural competency model. The Cultural Competency Assessment (CCA) tool is composed of two subscales: Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity (CAS) and Culturally Competent Behaviors (CCB). Multiple regressions, Pearson’s correlations, and ANOVAs determined relationships and differences among undergraduate and graduate students. Findings showed significant differences between undergraduate and graduate nursing students in CAS, p <.016. Students of Hispanic/White/European ethnicity scored higher on the CAS, while White/non-Hispanic students scored lower on the CAS, p < .05. One-way ANOVAs revealed cultural competency differences by program standing (grade-point averages), and by program tracks, between Master of Science in Nursing Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners and both Traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Registered Nurse-Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Univariate analysis revealed that higher cultural competency was associated with having previous diversity training and participation in diversity training as continuing education. After controlling for all predictors, multiple regression analysis found program level, program standing, and diversity training explained a significant amount of variance in overall cultural competency (p = .027; R2 = .18). Continuing education is crucial in achieving students’ cultural competency. Previous diversity training, graduate education, and higher grade-point average were correlated with higher cultural competency levels. However, increased diversity encounters were not associated with higher cultural competency levels.



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