What is the Impact on Cultural Competence in Nursing Students After an Immersion Experience in a Third World Country?

Monday, 30 July 2012

Shannon L. McCrory, DHEd, RN, PNP
Theresa Arida, MS, BS, RN
School of Nursing, D'Youville College, Buffalo, NY

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify the need for increased cultural competence in nursing students

Learning Objective 2: the learner will be able to describe the impact of an immersion experience on cultural competence in selected nursing students


As the world becomes a much smaller place, the melding of cultures is inevitable and a focus on global healthcare is increasingly important. With such a diverse population, cultural awareness and cultural competence in nursing is critical to maintaining high practice standards.  While limited cultural awareness can be taught, competence can be infinitely increased by immersion in a culture other than one’s own.  Caring for patients in a third world country, relying on basic nursing skills with few resources is a massive undertaking for a nursing student.  Their experiences in the service learning arena and researching the impact on cultural competence can benefit educators in moving curriculum forward with emphasis on the global community and cultural competence.


For this research, a small group of baccalaureate nursing students in a small college in Buffalo, NY, USA were selected to participate in a one week mission trip to the Dominican Republic.  The group was pre/post tested using “Inventory for assessing the Process of Cultural Competence Among Healthcare Professionals-Student Version.” They were required to complete reflective journaling exercises, participate in group discussions and their experiences were compiled and responses analyzed.


At the time of this writing, analysis has not been completed.  However, researchers anticipate significant results from this study to be available for presentation at the 23rd Annual Nursing research Congress 2012.


Following completion of  research statistics, the authors will identify future implications for nursing education and the nursing profession.  Researchers will include information that will look for innovations in student learning experience and integrating service learning into curriculum along with cultural competence.