Virtual HCOPing - Cultural Competency Training and Financial Aid/Financial Literacy Experience

As the world continues to adapt to a new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pipeline to Success Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) continues to provide training and resources to students that aid in their individual academic and professional success as future health professionals. So, the question is how is this done – VIRTUALLY! HCOP students (high school, undergraduate and health professional) were able to participate in two (2) vital programmatic activities this month: cultural competency training and a financial aid/financial literacy experience.

First off, we all know that cultural competence in healthcare refers to the ability for healthcare professionals to demonstrate cultural competence toward patients with diverse values, beliefs, and feelings. This process includes consideration of the individual social, cultural, and psychological needs of patients for effective cross-cultural communication with their health care providers. The goal of cultural competence in health care is to

reduce health disparities and to provide optimal care to patients regardless of their race, gender, ethnic background, native languages spoken, and religious or cultural beliefs. Students were tasked with viewing a well-produced video that covered the “dos” and “don’ts” of cultural competence in healthcare observed through fictional re-enactments of real-life scenarios involving health professionals, patients, friends and families of varying diverse backgrounds. Once students completed the viewing, here came the best part – the written discussion:

· What did you learn from this video about other cultures?

· How is your culture different from that of the key participants in the video?

· How will you use the information when interacting with individuals from other cultures?


Student responses, perceptions, beliefs and opinions just proved, not only how diverse we are within HCOP, but also, how cultural competence in healthcare is foundational to the reduction of health disparities among the patient population.

Next was our Financial Aid and Financial Literacy Experience with the HCOP high school and undergraduate students. Money – how much of it you have, how you spend it, where you get it from, etc. tends to spark a bit of unease among students. What better way to hone in on such a topic than to offer a “virtual experience” focused on paying for school, scholarships, career choice, living expenses, etc.

“How am I going to pay for college?” – a question that almost every student asks themselves at least once in their lifetime. The HCOP team knows that having a plan is the best plan to have; therefore, using ScholarshipQuest - a free database containing over 2,000 Nebraska-based scholarships, students were asked to locate five (5) scholarships in which they were eligible for and devise a plan of action – develop a checklist and timeline of all of the things needed to be turned in for those five (5) scholarships i.e. application deadline, letter of recommendation, hours of community service, etc. And once the plan was complete to adhere to it, visit it often and finally, apply to each of those scholarships.

Finally, students were charged with using the EducationQuest Reality Check free online tool that allows students to determine if their potential career choices will provide them with the lifestyle they desire. Each student got a glimpse of their future monthly expenses, including housing costs, utilities, food costs, auto bills, healthcare, and “extras.” The tool totals up the expenses for a year, and then shows students careers that will provide enough pay to cover their desired lifestyle. For those students who already knew which occupation they wanted to pursue could click through and find out how much they could buy with their chosen occupation.



“How am I going to pay for college?” – a question that almost every student asks themselves at least once in their lifetime. The HCOP team knows that having a plan is the best plan to have; therefore, using ScholarshipQuest - a free database containing over 2,000 Nebraska-based scholarships, students were asked to locate five (5) scholarships in which they were eligible for and devise a plan of action – develop a checklist and timeline of all of the things needed to be turned in for those five (5) scholarships i.e. application deadline, letter of recommendation, hours of community service, etc. And once the plan was complete to adhere to it, visit it often and finally, apply to each of those scholarships.

Finally, students were charged with using the EducationQuest Reality Check free online tool that allows students to determine if their potential career choices will provide them with the lifestyle they desire. Each student got a glimpse of their future monthly expenses, including housing costs, utilities, food costs, auto bills, healthcare, and “extras.” The tool totals up the expenses for a year, and then shows students careers that will provide enough pay to cover their desired lifestyle. For those students who already knew which occupation they wanted to pursue could click through and find out how much they could buy with their chosen occupation.

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