The State of Transcultural Nursing Global Leadership and Education

Article excerpt

The scholarly articles presented in this section reflect the current state of global transcultural nursing leadership, as well as the progress made in fostering cultural competence through transcultural nursing education.Transcultural nursing can be traced back to the early years, over a half century ago, when Dr Madeleine Leininger first began exploring the relationship between nursing and anthropology (Leininger 1970).Through her pioneering theoretical work, we first started using the term 'transcultural', to mean 'across all world nations'. We have since developed into our own discipline of transcultural nursing, boasting of our unique knowledge base within the discipline of nursing. Leadership has emerged through the years, with the establishment of the Transcultural Nursing Society in the United States in 1975, and the 1994 establishment of the Transcultural Nursing Society in Australia through the Royal College of Nursing,Australia. Both organisations, through collaboration and individual efforts, have provided leadership for the expanding discipline, to include the hosting of annual international conferences, the development of policy and position statements, and the encouragement and showcasing of important research focusing on unique culture care perspectives.

Bryant and colleagues (2008) provide an excellent evolutionary perspective of the role the Royal College of Nursing,Australia (RCNA) has played in supporting the growth and development of transcultural nursing in Australia. The official recognition of transcultural nursing as a distinct society in 1994 firmly established the importance of discovering care from a cultural perspective in a multicultural society such as Australia.

The article by Andrews (2008) highlights the global nature of transcultural nursing and identifies many Australian nurse leaders who have been visionaries in establishing culturally relevant nursing practice. As a result of the scholarly work by Australian transcultural nurse leaders, there is now a significant body of knowledge in nursing that is useful in practice, education and research around the globe.

As much as we would like to think all of this progress translates into effective education programs for practicing nurses and faculty, read the contemporary articles before you say otherwise. We are still only beginning to understand how we can provide the critical learning environment for students to grasp the key components of transcultural nursing, and to then evaluate the effectiveness of our programs. Lynette Raymond, of the University of Notre Dame, Sydney Australia (2008), shares with us a detailed BN curriculum approach, including several required courses in TCN, and the introduction of a variety of conceptual models.This very specific curriculum focus, designed from extensive literature review of research relevant to Australia, includes plans for evaluation one year after graduation.We look forward to the results.

On the other hand, we are faced with two research studies that declare we are not finding positive results in many of our attempts to evaluate cultural competency in undergraduate programs in the United States. Mixer (2008) describes a gap in faculty knowledge, and therefore limited ability to provide the context of culture care for student learning. Kardong- Edgren and Camphina-Bacote (2008) present a study indicating that regardless of approach, by graduation many students are not scoring beyond cultural awareness in scales measuring cultural competence. These findings are reminiscent of the situation with measuring critical thinking as an outcome measure of baccalaureate schools of nursing. …