Surveys of Cultural Competency in Health Professional Education: A literature review

How to Cite

Spencer C, Macdonald R, Archer F. Surveys of Cultural Competency in Health Professional Education: A literature review. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine [Internet]. 2015Jul.16 [cited 2023Mar.30];6(2). Available from:


A literature review, in advance of designing a survey of cultural competency in Australian and New Zealand paramedic education courses, provides the focus of this paper. The review sought to explore the extent to which other health professions include cultural competency in their undergraduate curriculum.

The literature review identified specific research papers that used survey methods to determine the status of cultural competency training in other health professions. With no paramedic specific information available to inform paramedic education, these research papers formed a basis for designing a survey that would examine the extent to which paramedic education includes cultural competency in its curricula.

This paper is timely for informing paramedic education about surveys on cultural competency in health professional education. It is particularly timely for the paramedic profession, which is currently in transition from a vocationally based occupation to a professionally based discipline within a university setting; and, at a time when a small number of student paramedics are opting to take advantage of an Honours degree. Similarly, experienced paramedics are undertaking Masters and Doctoral research programs in prehospital and paramedic related issues. Such opportunities enable paramedics to extend their career prospects into academic research, an opportunity that was previously untenable.

The process of reviewing the literature to develop a paramedic specific survey provides useful information for paramedics who may want to undertake similar research projects to examine other aspects of the curriculum. This paper, therefore, contributes to both developing an appreciation of the complex issues which arise from this process, and establishes an evidence base foundation for the paramedic discipline as it emerges within an academic and research orientated environment. The lessons learned in reviewing surveys might be useful for other health professions and emergency service researchers.