Intercultural Web-Conferencing to Increase Cultural Competence of Nursing Students

Saturday, 16 November 2013: 3:15 PM

Tara Lynn Spalla, PhD, RN
Mount Carmel College of Nursing, Columbus, OH

Learning Objective 1: discuss a teaching strategy utilizing technology to increase cultural competence of students

Learning Objective 2: discuss quantitative survey results of web-conferencing (treatment) and lecture (control) groups, and qualitative themes from focus group interviews with students in web-conferencing group


Nurse educators must prepare students to care for a diverse population. Web-conferencing across diverse groups is one teaching method that may assist students to develop intercultural skills. Mixed-methods research examined web-conferencing’s influence on cultural competence and transcultural self-efficacy of American undergraduate nursing students.

Theoretical Rationale

Current strategies to increase cultural competence of students include theory dissemination, study abroad, service learning, distance education, and simulation. Study abroad, the platinum standard, is costly, not feasible for all institutions/students. Merely 1.4 percent of US students study abroad. New experiential learning tools should be explored.

Video and/or web-conferencing is used world-wide to bridge distance and assist multicultural communication through live voice/video, engaging more students interculturally without constraints of geography and resources. Technology is utilized for mutual scaffolding and social construction of knowledge.  Content and culture are learned together with international peers.


Freshman U.S. nursing students in required course were recruited (n=33). Study participants were randomly assigned to treatment group (n=18) or control group (n=15). A student cohort from University in Dublin, Ireland participated in web-conferences but not this research.


Two Likert-style survey instruments measuring cultural competence and transcultural self-efficacy were administered pre –post. Students in treatment group participated in two web-conferences, covering topics presented in lecture with control group. Thirteen students from web-conferencing group participated in one of four qualitative focus group interviews.


Cultural competence post scores: treatment group rose nine percent, control group no change. Web-conferencing did not influence transcultural self-efficacy. Categories of data themes for qualitative research questions included: cultural awareness, impact of pedagogy, development of cultural competence.


Web-conferencing with diverse peers may help to increase cultural competence of nursing students. Strategic placement throughout grade levels and curricula may increase cumulative impact of this experiential learning pedagogy.