A Cultural and Linguistically Appropriate Academic Support Program for Culturally Diverse Students in an Accelerated BSN Program

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Daria B. Napierkowski, DNP, APN, C, RN
School of Nursing, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, NJ

Learning Objective 1: Increase learnerís awareness of studentsí cultural backgrounds and how this affects their learning needs.

Learning Objective 2: Develop awareness of culturally congruent strategies to motivate students in promoting sucess.

The program consisted of three one hour sessions to: develop bicultural understanding of self and the dominant American and professional nursing culture, develop professional communication skills, and develop critical thinking skills.
The project combined qualitative and quantitative methods. The qualitative component consisted of focus group interviews of students and faculty participants using an interview guide, collection of demographic data and the Cultural Learning Environment Questionnaire (CLEQ) (Waldrip & Fisher, 2007). The CLEQ was administered before and after completion of the program.
Participants comprised of 12 students. The criteria of eligibility for student participants were as follows: (1) primary language other than English, (2) born in a country outside the US, (3) received part or all previous education in countries outside the US, (4) enrollment in Year I of the UMDNJ ABSN program, and (5) completed a signed agreement to participate in the entire program implementation and evaluation.
Findings: Proficiency in the English language was significant in student learning and communicating with other students and faculty. Students’ unique cultural backgrounds posed difficulties in adapting to different norms in school, expectations of faculty and American peers. Difficulty with the English language was compounded by learning a new scientific language of nursing. They preferred a more directive teaching style, non-verbal connection with teachers with cultural and linguistic academic support. Dissonant norms between home and school posed barriers to integrating academic norms. Cultural values served as prime motivators for persevering and succeeding in the program. Reference:
Waldrip, B., Fisher, D. (1997). Cultural learning environment: Validity and application of             a questionnaire. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational            Research Association. Chicago, IL. March 24-28, 1997.