Date Presented 04/20/2023

Results of this mixed-methods research show the positive longitudinal effect of a short-term Costa Rica study-abroad experience on interprofessional and cultural competencies, teamwork, and collaboration between OT and nursing students.

Primary Author and Speaker: Brittany N. Saviers

Additional Authors and Speakers: Andree Ledbetter, Deborah L. Gangluff

This research measured the longitudinal effect of an international fieldwork experience in Costa Rica on the interprofessional and cultural competencies of OT and nursing students. The research questions were: (a) How does a short-term study abroad experience to Costa Rica enhance cultural competencies among students, and (b) increase students’ interprofessional competencies? In 2019, 17 students participated in the international fieldwork experience. A mixed-methods study design was used to gain an understanding of student learning. Two years post-trip, seven students participated in the follow-up assessments. In 2019, students completed an investigator-developed demographic questionnaire (Pre-Test), the Cultural Competency Questionnaire (Pre/Post-Test) (CCQ; Mareno, Hart, & VanBrackle, 2013), and the Entry Level Interprofessional Questionnaire (Pre/Post-Test) (ELIQ; Pollard, Meirs, & Gilchrist, 2016). Reflection journals were submitted after the experience. Two years post-trip, students completed a focus group, the CCQ, and the ELIQ. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, the Wilcoxon Signed Rank test, narrative analysis, and constant comparison. Results of the 2019 and 2021 post-trip CCQ subscale showed statistically significant improvement in longitudinal effects of knowledge (p < 0.02) and skills (p < 0.02). Results of the 2019 ELIQ Likert scale results suggested statistically significant improvement in Communication and Teamwork (p < .05); however, results were not statistically significant for the 2021 follow-up. The qualitative data further supports the longitudinal value of study abroad experiences. Results suggest a short-term international fieldwork experience can help students improve cultural competencies and their worldview two years following the initial trip. Impact Statement: This research stands to influence the profession by demonstrating strategies to develop students who are prepared to practice in a globally connect world.


Mareno, N., Hart, P., & VanBrackle, L. (2013). Psychometric validation of the revised clinical cultural competency questionnaire. J. Nurs. Meas. 21(3), 426–436.

Pollard, K.C., Miers, M.E., & Gilchrist, M. (2004). Collaborative learning for collaborative working? Initial findings from a longitudinal study of health and social care students. Health Soc. Care Commun. 12(4), 346–358.