Study Outcomes of Service Learning on Intercultural Sensitivity in BSN Students

Tuesday, 31 October 2017: 9:00 AM

Leona A. Konieczny, DNP, MPH, BSN, ADN
Catherine S. Thomas, DNP, MSN
Nursing Department, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT, USA

Service learning is an educational strategy to develop intercultural sensitivity. The increasing diversity of nursing care recipients and the globalization of healthcare reinforce the assumption that the nurse is providing care to a diverse population (The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice, 2008). This study is aligned with the outcome of the graduate being able to apply kowledge of social and cultural factors to the care of diverse populations (The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice, 2008). Nursing students benefit from the privilege of caring for persons from diverse cultures. Social awareness and making significant social contribution are part of the mission of the department of nursing and the university. This descriptive quantitative study examines the impact of a service learning experience in Appalachia during a mobile medical clinic on intercultural sensitivity. The affective dimension of intercultural communication competence was measured by the Intercultural Sensitivity Scale (ISS). Study findings demonstrate an impact on interaction engagement and interaction attentiveness for the study participants. Human Studies Council approved the study. Appalachia has distinct cultural differences related to geographic and socioeconomic factors.

For this study, service learning is defined as a pedagogical approach that is experiential in nature, which intentionally supports the achievement of institution and program goals through structured reciprocal learning activities (Stallwood & Grog, 2011). The Intercultural Sensitivity Scale (ISS) developed by Chen and Starosta is a 24 item instrument measuring 5 components of intercultural sensitivity which are interaction engagement, respect for cultural differences, interaction confidence, interaction enjoyment and interaction attentiveness. The reliability coefficient for this instrument is 0.86-0.88. Permission was obtained for use of the instrument. Demographic variables examined are age, gender, residence in another state, experience in healthcare exclusive of clinical assignments, experience in volunteerism in the community, travel outside the state, and travel outside the country. The instrument was administered two days before travel to the service learning experience and two days after return. After examining variables, three items were found to have statistical significance. The three statements that demonstrate a change after the experience are: "I tend to wait before forming an impression of culturally-distinct counterparts.", "I am very observant when interacting with people from different cultures." (Interaction Attentiveness), and "I often show my culturally-distinct counterpart my understanding through verbal or nonverbal cues." (Interaction Engagement). Implications for nursing education are included. Opportunities for further research with service learning are described including the measurement of intercultural sensitivity and civic engagement.