Transcultural Immersion as an Approach to Cultural Attunement

Thursday, 15 July 2010: 4:25 PM

Jennifer L. Morton, RN, DNP, MPH
Nursing, University of New England, Portland, ME
Maureen A. Nalle, PhD, RN
College of Nursing, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN

Learning Objective 1: The learner will describe the value of the transcultural immersion experience and its interface with cultural humility.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will describe how the accultration process can transform one;s thinking with respect to diverse populations.

With growing emphasis on the need for a culturally competent healthcare workforce, academic programs have initiated strategies to provide multicultural experiences for students. In many nursing programs, short term immersion programs are being offered to enhance cultural awareness and promote culturally competent care in developing countries.  Service –learning and other program models are used to introduce global health concepts as well as teaching important ethical considerations in multicultural environments.
Although such programs are meritorious in their mission, they often fail to achieve learning objectives due to inadequate preparation for the acculturation experience. The Transcultural Immersion in Healthcare involves a two-week health mission in a developing country providing primary care and community health education. This collaborative effort between two academic nursing programs and the Ghana Health Mission includes significant preparation of student and faculty participants as well as ongoing, reflective dialogue.  Evaluative data of the first year pilot reveals the transformative nature of the cultural immersion for both faculty and students. This innovative approach to cultural awareness may serve as an educational model for other nursing and health professional programs.