A discussion of White fragility to facilitate cultural competence development in a foundations of pharmaceutical care class

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: The objective of this study was to explore pharmacy students' emotional reaction to the concept of White fragility and garner ideas about improving pharmacy curriculum to initiate constructive patient engagement across racial divides. Methods: An online questionnaire was distributed to 160 first-year pharmacy students after reading the article “White Fragility” for a Foundations of Pharmaceutical Care Course. Class prep questions included (1) How can the college and you improve the capacity and stamina of Whites, so they are prepared to teach and initiate constructive patient engagement across racial divides? and (2) Recognizing that emotions play a critical role in learning, how does the information in the “White Fragility” article make you feel? Responses were analyzed using a constant comparative method by all three authors; discrepancies were resolved by consensus. Results: Of the 160 students across two campuses, 157 submitted responses. Four major categories of college culture, curriculum, educational topics, and educational suggestions or enhancements emerged “to improve the capacity and stamina of Whites.” With regard to the observed feelings after reading “White Fragility,” seven categories of feelings (frequency) emerged, including awareness (49%), discomfort (38.2%), empathy (19.7%), defensiveness (16.6%), frustration (15.9%), empowerment (11.5%), and curiosity (8.3%). Conclusions: This student cohort is at the beginning of their intercultural journey in pharmacy. Many indicated that more emphasis on and discussion about issues like White fragility and racism would benefit their ability to care for people from a wide variety of cultures to optimize patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)572-581
Number of pages10
JournalCurrents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning
Volume14
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.

Keywords

  • Cultural competence
  • Cultural safety
  • Racism
  • Social determinants of health
  • White fragility

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