247176 Does study abroad enhance cultural competency in a baccalaureate nursing program?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 9:10 AM

Sarah E. Abrams, PhD, RN , Department of Nursing, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
Hendrika Maltby, PhD, RN , Nursing, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
Background: In today's global environment, nurses must be prepared to meet the needs of people from diverse backgrounds. The Essentials for Baccalaureate Education and the Public Health Nursing Competencies contain requirements for cultural competencies. Integrating cultural concepts is dependent on faculty, and influenced by content-crowded curricula and pressure to prepare students for licensure. Two related studies seek to begin an evaluation process by first determining if students learn cultural competency in the current curriculum and the effect of a study abroad experience. Methods: Study One, a longitudinal survey, examines where in the curriculum students learn cultural competency. Study Two investigates how a study abroad immersion experience adds to cultural competency through thematically analyzing reflective journals. The travel students will be compared to non-travel students to determine if there are significant differences to their cultural competency. Results: The longitudinal survey data indicate that students appear highly confident of their own skills but as they progress from junior to senior level, they seem to reevaluate their competence downwards. Analysis of the journals shows that study abroad made students aware of themselves as a privileged group. Data analysis to compare the travel from non-travel students is underway. Conclusion: Jirwe and her colleagues (2009) noted that nurses need to develop an understanding of their own cultural identity before being able to approach people from a different culture. It is hoped that results of these studies will assist in curriculum development and strategies for students to ensure cultural competency preparation.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the historical context of the inclusion of cultural competency and transcultural nursing skills into nursing curricula. 2. List the current findings of both studies. 3. Explain strategies that assist in cultural competency development during baccalaureate education based on study results.

Keywords: Cultural Competency, Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the co-PI and I have conducted the study with my colleague, H. Maltby.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.