Action Is Traction: Keys to Preparing Nurses to Care Globally

Monday, 30 October 2017

Neil E. Peterson, PhD1
Michael C. Thomas, MSN, BSN, ADN1
Sheri P. Palmer, DNP1
Nathan H. Wiley, BS2
(1)College of Nursing, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA
(2)Medical/Surgical, Mountain View Hospital, Payson, UT, USA

Cultural competency is an essential element of nursing practice (Calvillo et al., 2009). Cultural differences are everywhere and should be embraced. Modeling and teaching compassionate care for all human beings is an important part of any nursing education. Our college takes this aspect of being culturally prepared literally by requiring nine credits based on public and global nursing. In addition, 90% of our students study abroad during their nursing education. The courses are prepared to increase leadership, pursue evidence based research, and incorporate translational nursing care.

Leadership Teaching

Students are the future leaders in clinical practice and in the global community. Key to effectual leadership is the ability to encourage teamwork and collaboration through difficult circumstances. Our college incorporates leadership teaching to train nurses to step up to tough yet important communications, speak their minds and attain positive resolutions. Specific lessons on “crucial conversations”, leadership training, and teamwork quality improvement projects are all methods we use to train future nurses.

Evidence-Based Projects

Evidence-based practice is an amalgamation of research, clinical experience, and patient preferences (Houser, 2015). Students learn through research and ethics courses how to find and integrate evidenced-based practice into care that is respectful of cultures and individual preferences, while delivering the best possible treatments. As part of the capstone experience students complete projects that benefit their unit—projects which often include educating nursing and other health care staff on delivering culturally-competent care and strengthening inter-professional collaboration.

Translational Research

Working evidence based research into actual clinical settings, especially in a global site, can be a challenge with undergraduate students. With the help of students over the last eight years, our college has performed benchmark anemia prevalence studies in Ghana, Ecuador and India on schoolchildren. With this data, we have been able to apply research based interventions to improve the health of countless children in these countries.


The public and global health education model that is utilized by our college provides students a transformative educational experience. Student clinical experiences in different countries and among culturally diverse at-risk populations in the local community helps them develop cultural humility and apply the cultural knowledge that is taught in our didactic courses. We anticipate that this strong foundational learning experience will empower our students to become powerful advocates and leaders in global and public health policy. We are eager to help other