Building capacity in times of crisis: Increasing cultural competence of healthcare professionals in the context of the COVID-19

Ortal Slobodin, Yosef Kula, Neta Clempert, Odeya Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Nurses are the frontline healthcare professionals fighting the medical and social effects of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Although they work with diverse populations, there is a lack of literature on culturally competent education during an emergency such as a pandemic. Aims and objectives: To examine the effectiveness of an online education programme aimed at increasing cultural competence among rescue teams and healthcare professionals facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Design: Pre–post-web-based intervention study. Methods: Pre–post-intervention surveys were administered to a matched sample of Israeli healthcare and rescue organisation professionals. The initial sample included 303 participants (52% women) who completed the pre-intervention survey. More than half of the sample (56%, n = 170) were paid workers or volunteers in health organisations. Of the initial sample, 154 participants completed the post-intervention survey following the online cultural competence education programme. Descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis were used to evaluate participants’ gains in culturally competent attitudes, knowledge, skills and encounters. This study followed the STROBE guidelines. Results: Participants found the online programme useful in improving their cultural competence during the COVID-19 pandemic. The highest gains were found in the attitudes domains, whereas the lowest in the knowledge domain. Pre-intervention cultural competence scores and incorporating the programme in the educational curricula predicted increased gains in cultural competence. Conclusions: Online educational interventions showed potential for increasing professionals’ awareness of cultural biases, differences and attitudes, leading to more open and accepting attitudes towards patients of different backgrounds. Relevance to clinical practice: Recognising the need for real-time, low-cost and available training, the World Health Organization recommended using online courses for healthcare professionals struggling in the pandemic frontline. Online education programmes provide a useful platform for training health professionals in times of emergency.

Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
StatePublished - 10 Jun 2021


  • capacity building
  • cultural competence
  • disaster nursing
  • healthcare professionals
  • online educational programme

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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