‘We’re Here to Help’: Students of Color Experiences and Satisfaction with Health and Emergency Services at Washington State University

Primary author: Brianne Posey
Faculty sponsor: Patricia Maarhuis

Primary college/unit: Cougar Health Services/Health Promotion
Category: Physical and Social Sciences

Campus: Pullman


Background: People of color may face barriers to care services. Some of these barriers stem from financial and geographic disadvantage, while other barriers stem from negative experiences with practitioners and staff. Patient satisfaction with care services is an important factor in retention. Previous studies have concluded that patient experiences and satisfaction scores significantly predict whether a patient maintains a continuing relationship with a practitioner. Research Objectives: Researchers sought to examine the self-reported experiences and satisfaction scores of minority students at Washington State University. Data: A survey questionnaire was distributed to 200 students of color regarding their experiences and satisfaction with four Washington State University, Pullman campus and community emergency and health care services: 1) Cougar Health Services Medical Clinic (CHS), 2) Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), 3) Washington State University Police Department (WSU PD), 4) Pullman Police Department (Pullman PD). Analysis: Quantitative descriptive analysis was performed along with qualitative thematic analysis. Results: Participant experiences such as friendly staff, trauma informed interviewing, and culturally respectful and inclusive language were associated with higher satisfaction scores and students being more likely to return. Oppositely, experiences such as long wait times, incorrect diagnosis, and high cost of treatment were associated with lower satisfaction scores and students being less likely to return. Conclusion: This study provides data about factors important to patient satisfaction with care services for a selected group of college students. Recommendations for improving satisfaction among students of color are provided.