Interdisciplinary Work and Cultural Awareness During a Medical Mission Experience in Vietnam

Tuesday, July 12, 2011: 2:05 PM

Freida Fuller, DSN, RN
Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, Mercer University, Atlanta, GA
Brenda B. Rowe, RN, MN, JD
Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University, Atlanta, GA

Learning Objective 1: discuss methods identified by students that enhance culturally competent care during a medical mission trip to Vietnam.

Learning Objective 2: describe the impact on students of participation as a part of interdisciplinary collaboration during a medical mission trip.

Purpose: Reflective journaling allows students to process an experience in a unique manner and has been used in a variety of ways as a tool in nursing education. Emphasis on interdisciplinary opportunities in education is needed to provide for collaboration, understanding, and appreciation of profession roles. With increasing cultural diversity across the United States with multiple health care problems, a nursing education need is evident for heightened awareness of provision of culturally competent care. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive research study was to analyze student reflections regarding the value of interdisciplinary work and the provision of culturally competent care during a medical mission trip in Vietnam. 

Methods: Fifteen students from nursing, medicine, pharmacy, and business were required to journal before, during,and after the 3 week in-country experience. 

Results: Structured reflective journaling entries revealed methods to provide culturally competent care that were not dependent on language proficiency.  Some themes that emerged were Acceptance, Knowing Thyself, and Caring Communication. An appreciation and understanding of disciplinary roles were identified by themes such as Respect, Privilege, and Blending of Parts to Phenomenal Whole. Student reflections demonstrated the mutual learning and development of trust and respect that occurred from interdisciplinary collaboration and that important components of culturally competent care were achieved without language proficiency. Because we speak different languages does not mean we cannot communicate (reflective journal entry).

Conclusion: With changes in healthcare delivery and diversity of client population, an increased emphasis is needed to understand students’ perspective of interdisciplinary work and provision of culturally competent care. Reflective journaling can provide critical insight into students' understanding.