A case study examination of the influence of cultural diversity in the multicultural nursing workforce on the quality of care and patient safety in a Saudi Arabian hospital

Almutairi, Adel Faza (2012) A case study examination of the influence of cultural diversity in the multicultural nursing workforce on the quality of care and patient safety in a Saudi Arabian hospital. Professional Doctorate thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The purpose of the study: The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of cultural diversity, in a multicultural nursing workforce, on the quality and safety of patient care and the work environment at King Abdul-Aziz Medical City, Riyadh region.

Study background: Due to global migration and workforce mobility, to varying degrees, cultural diversity exists in most health services around the world, particularly occurring where the health care workforce is multicultural or where the domestic population comprises minority groups from different cultures speaking different languages. Further complexities occur when countries have a multicultural workforce which is different from the population for whom they care, in addition to the workers being from culturally diverse countries and with different languages. In Saudi Arabia the health system is mainly staffed by expatriate nurses who comprise 67.7% of the total number of nurses.

Study design: This research utilised a case study design which incorporated multiple methods including survey, qualitative interviews and document review.

Methods: The participant nurses were selected for the survey via a population sampling strategy; 319 nurses returned their completed Safety Climate Survey questionnaires. Descriptive and inferential statistics (Kruskal–Wallis test) were used to analyse survey data. For the qualitative component of the study, a purposive sampling strategy was used; 24 nurses were interviewed using a semi-structured interview technique. The documentary review included KAMC-R policy documents that met the inclusion criteria using a predetermined data abstraction instrument. Content analysis was used to analyse the policy documents data.

Results: The data revealed the nurses‘ perceptions of the clinical climate in this multicultural environment is that it was unsafe, with a mean score of 3.9 out of 5. No significant difference was detected between the age groups or years of experience of the nurses and the perception of safety climate in this context; the study did reveal a statistically significant difference between the cultural background categories and the perception of safety climate. The qualitative phase indicated that the nurses within this environment were struggling to achieve cultural competence; consequently, they were having difficulties in meeting the patients‘ cultural and spiritual needs as well as maintaining a high standard of care. The results also indicated that nurses were disempowered in this context. Importantly, there was inadequate support by the organisation to manage the cultural diversity issue and to protect patients from any associated risks, as demonstrated by the policy documents and supported by the nurses‘ experiences. The study also illustrated the limitations of the conceptual framework of cultural competence when tested in this multicultural workforce context. Therefore, this study generated amendments to the model that is suitable to be used in the context of a multicultural nursing workforce.

Conclusion: The multicultural nature of this nursing work environment is inherently risky due to the conflicts that arise from the different cultural norms, beliefs, behaviours and languages. Further, there was uncertainty within the multicultural nursing workforce about the clinical and cultural safety of the patient care environment and about the cultural safety of the nursing workforce. The findings of the study contribute important new knowledge to the area of patient and nurse safety in a multicultural environment and contribute theoretical development to the field of cultural competence. Specifically, the findings will inform policy and practice related to patient care in the context of cultural diversity.

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ID Code: 51580
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Supervisor: Gardner, Glenn E. & McCarthy, Alexandra L.
Keywords: Saudi Arabia, cultural diversity, cultural competence, multicultural nursing workforce, quality of care, patient safety, safety climate, case study research, multiple methods, semi-structured interviews, documentary review
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 12 Jul 2012 00:23
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2015 23:56

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