A Student Actor Performed Three Vignettes Addressing Culture in an Undergraduate Health Assessment Class

Monday, 30 October 2017

Diane Shea, PhD
Department of Nursing, Emmanuel College, Boston, MA, USA

Addressing cultural competency is essential in nursing education. The five cultural competencies for Baccalaureate Education, as outlined by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, guided this cultural education effort. The five cultural competencies are:1) Apply knowledge of social and cultural factors that affect nursing and health care across multiple contexts. 2)Use relevant data sources and best evidence in providing culturally competent care. 3) Promote achievement of safe and quality outcomes of care for diverse populations. 4) Advocate for social justice, including commitment to the health of vulnerable populations and 5) the elimination of health disparities and participate in continuous cultural competence development (AACN: http://www.aacn.nche.edu/education-resources/toolkit.pdf)

In Baccalaureate Nursing Programs, despite the funding to support an increase in minority baccalaureate nursing students, there has been only a small increase in the percentage of minority baccalaureate nurses from 25.2% in 2006 to 31.6 nurses in 2015 (AACN http://www.aacn.nche.edu/research-data/EthnicityTbl.pdf). The shortage of nurses from under-represented population makes it less likely that culturally and linguistically competent care will be available to diverse populations. Educating nursing students in cultural humility is important to address patient outcomes.

This cultural educational initiative promotes cultural humility which is guided by the five AACN Baccalaureate cultural competencies.

In a nursing undergraduate health assessment class a student actor portrayed three patients from three different cultures (Mexican, Chinese, and Jewish) ranging from the ages of 36 to 75. Three assessment tools were used as the basis for the “script” to assess mental health, anxiety, and suicide. Pre-class rehearsals ensured all essential characteristics of ethnicity, culture, and health status were portrayed in each vignette. A student worker gave feedback during rehearsals, critiquing the delivery of each vignette. A nursing faculty, portraying the nurse, asked questions to the student actor patient. A post vignette discussion with the class addressed the cultural aspects of the vignette and the care needs of the pateint. Students reported a 4.8 average on a 5 point scale on how helpful using an actor was in learning course content. The course faculty praised the use of actors and the vignettes as an exceptional learning strategy.