Developing an Undergraduate Nursing Course Exploring the Cultural Aspects of Health Management of Diverse Populations

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Gary Glauberman, MS, RN, APHN-BC
Michele Bray, MS, RN, PHNA-BC
Department of Nursing, University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, Honolulu, HI, USA

Background:Health disparities persist in the U.S., with racial or ethnic minority groups at disproportionate risk of experiencing worse health outcomes (Jackson, Gracia, 2014). Contributing to health disparities are clinical barriers that occur between patients and health care providers when sociocultural differences are not fully accepted or understood (Betancourt et al., 2016). This has ultimately resulted in poor health outcomes through misunderstanding, value conflicts and disparate concepts of health and illness (Lie, Carter-Pokras, Braun, Coleman, 2012). Cultural competence education and training for health professionals has been shown to improve the knowledge, attitudes and skills regarding addressing cultural differences (Beach, et al., 2005). Nurses in the U.S. will be caring for an increasingly culturally diverse population. There is an urgent need for nursing faculty to develop innovative methods of teaching strategies that foster cultural sensitivity and curiosity among nursing students.

Purpose: The purpose of this presentation is to describe the development of an undergraduate nursing course titled “Cultural Aspects of Health Management of Populations.” The goal of the presentation is to explain how this course provides students with opportunities to analyze the cultural perspectives and worldviews that influence health management of individuals and populations. The target audience for this presentation is nursing educators and students who are interested in developing new ways of teaching/learning about how culture and traditional values impact health.

Methods: Course activities and assignments were designed to encourage students to self-reflect on their own culture, and engage in inquiry into the culture of other populations. Self-reflective assignments included written reflections, photo-elicitation, cultural heritage assessments, and interviews with matriarchal family figures’ perspectives on traditions and health beliefs. Students were also assigned a specific cultural group to study, and shared their findings using Photovoice, Powerpoint, or video presentations. Presentations focused on a health indicator of major concern for their assigned population, and current evidence-based practice (EBP) addressing the health indicator. Students also used their newly acquired knowledge of the culture they studied to propose both novel and culturally appropriate interventions to address the health indicator.

Lessons learned: Nursing students who took the course redefined their understanding of their own cultural heritage. They identified their own cultural strengths, resources, and vulnerabilities, based on historical knowledge and traditional values of health. They also gained newfound respect for indigenous, migrant, and immigrant cultures present in their own community.

Implications: Nursing educators can develop engaging teaching strategies to encourage students to discover their own personal culture, and explore cultures other than their own. Such an approach can guide student nurses to devise culturally appropriate intervention for individuals, families and communities.